Information About Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can strike suddenly and last for weeks or years. Lupus is caused by an immune reaction that causes the body to attack its own cells and can affect any body part.
Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be confused with those of other illnesses. A facial rash across both cheeks is one of the most tell-tale symptoms of lupus. People with lupus may experience light sensitivity, along with fatigue, fever, joint swelling, pain, hair loss, shortness of breath, dry eyes, headaches, and changes in thinking. For some sufferers, symptoms can be quite debilitating, while others may experience only mild symptoms of the condition.
The cause of lupus is unknown, though genetic factors may predispose some individuals to develop lupus. In a person who is genetically predisposed to develop lupus, the onset of the disease as well as flare-ups may be triggered by that person’s environment. Allergens, medications and infections can sometimes trigger flare-ups. Each case of lupus is different, so triggers can vary among sufferers. Lupus is more common in women than men and more common in African Americans than it is in Caucasians.
There are different types of lupus, typically designated by symptoms and the body parts they affect. To diagnose lupus, doctors will typically take down medical history, perform a complete physical exam, and conduct blood tests. Biopsies may also be conducted so your doctor can study what’s going on more closely.
There is no cure for lupus, though treatments are available. If you have unexplained symptoms and you believe you may have lupus, it is important to see a doctor to discuss your concerns. Treatments can help prevent complications from lupus, such as damage to tissues, joints and organs, fertility problems and pregnancy complications. Treatment can include medication as well as identification and prevention of environmental triggers. It is important for a doctor to frequently monitor the condition to prevent further complications.
Lupus can get better on its own in some cases, even without any treatment. This is known as remission. One of the best things to do if you suspect you have lupus or have been newly diagnosed is to become informed about the condition. Staying informed can help you manage the condition, as you will be better equipped to eliminate environmental triggers as well as to understand and explain your illness and symptoms to others.