Overview of Lupus

lupus

Lupus is a disease where a person’s own immune systems attacks its own bodily tissues, thinking that it is attacking a foreign disease. This is called an autoimmune disease. Some patients that have lupus only have a minor form of the disease, while others have significant disability which lasts for a lifetime.

People with Asian, African, and Native American decent suffer from lupus three times more than Caucasian people do. Ninety percent of lupus sufferers are female. Lupus usually manifests between the ages of 15 and 45, yet it can also occur on older people.

There are two forms of lupus:

  1.  The Discoid Type (DLE)
  2. The Systemic Type(SLE)

The DLE form only affects the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, and typically it has no effect on the internal organs of the body. The skin lesions will often form scars after they heal.

SLE lupus is much more serious, as it affects not only the skin but other vital internal organs as well. It can leave a scaly, raised rash across the cheeks and the bridge of the nose which can leave scars if not treated, and other parts of the skin elsewhere on the body can be affected.

SLE does have visible effects on the skin, but the more serious aspects of the SLE form is the damage that it can do to the connective tissue such as joints,skin, muscles, and ligaments. It also affects the membranes surrounding and within the heart, lungs, kidneys and the brain, although the brain being affected is rare. It can also cause the patient to be confused, depressed, have strokes and seizures.

It can affect the blood vessels as well with systemic lupus. Raynaud’s syndrome can occur, which makes the small blood vessels in the skin contract, which inhibits blood from getting to the feet and hands, particularly in response to cold. Most attacks last only a few minutes, and the hands and feet will turn cold and turn a bluish white color, and it can be very painful. Patients with the Raynaud’s syndrome should keep their hands warm by wearing gloves when the weather is cold.

What Is The Cause Of Lupus?

No single cause for lupus has been singled out. From research we have learned that a combination of genetic, environmental, hormonal, and immune system situations may be behind the contraction of lupus. Viral and bacterial infections and severe emotional distress and overexposure to sunlight may play a part in the provoking of the disease. Lupus like symptoms have been caused by the blood pressure medication of hydralazine and the heart drug of procainamide has caused lupus symptoms as well. Elevated estrogen levels from pregnancy has also been aggravating to lupus.

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