This is a disease that affects the body immune’s system. This is an autoimmune disease that attacks some of the body healthy tissues and organs. The effect of this disease does impair the functions of the body organs, such as the joints, heart, brain and the lungs. Examples of the signs and symptoms of this disease include the swelling of the joints, chest discomfort, the presence of ulceration in the mouth, swollen lymph nodes, tiredness and so on. Persons affected with this disease may manifest with periods of remission, and flares. The exact cause of this disease is not known yet. However, some factors have been identified. They include both genetics and environment. Studies have shown that if a member of an identical twin has the disease, the other twin has about 24% of also developing the disease. Some environmental factors that could contribute to the development of the disease include excessive to sunlight, insufficient vitamin D, infections, female sex hormones and so on. Physicians diagnose this disease by evaluating the presenting signs and symptoms of the disease and also carrying out other tests. Examples of tests that are done to diagnose this disease include blood tests, and so on. Systemic lupus erythematosus has no cure yet. However, physicians administer medications to treat the disease. Some of the drugs usually prescribed include corticosteroids, immunosuppressant, methotrexate, and so on. Researchers are working on ways to make shockwave therapy improve the signs and symptoms of the disease.
What Are the Early Signs and Symptoms of Lupus?
Systemic lupus erythematosus presents differently in people. The signs and symptoms also develop gradually, and over a long time. They usually differ in severity. While some patients might present with mild symptoms, some would manifest severe symptoms. The signs and symptoms presented by patients depend on the system or organ affected. Below are some of the common manifestations of the disease;
- Tiredness: Persons affected with lupus do feel tired easily. They usually can’t understand why they are tired until they visit a physician, and the disease is diagnosed.
- Fever: They also present with fever symptoms. These include a headache, increased body temperature, nausea, vomiting and so on.
- Joint pain: This is one of the early signs of lupus. Patients present with stiff The joints become difficult to move and get swollen.
- Chest discomfort: People affected with the disease also presents with pain in their chest.
Some of the systemic signs and symptoms presented by patients include the following;
- Blood: Persons affected with systemic lupus erythematosus do present with blood disorders such as anemia. In addition, they may also present with thrombocytopenia and leukopenia, conditions in which there is a low amount of platelets, and white blood cells respectively. Other blood disorders associated with lupus include antiphospholipid syndrome.
- Muscles and bones: As earlier mentioned, persons affected with lupus do present with disorders of the joints and bones. They do experience a lot of pain during the course of the disease. Studies have identified a possible connection between rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus arthritis.
- Skin: Systemic lupus erythematosus patients do have skin troubles. The signs and symptoms presented by persons affected with this disease can be categorized into 3 parts. These are chronic cutaneous lupus, subacute cutaneous lupus, and acute cutaneous lupus. Patients present with red patches on their skin. The acute form of the symptoms presents as rash. One of the most common skin disorder is the malar rash, also known as the butterfly rash. Studies have shown that up to about 60% of patients do present with skin problems.
- Heart: Lupus also affects the heart, and cause some heart conditions such as pericarditis. This is a disease in which there is an inflammation of the membrane covering the heart. Patients might also present with myocarditis and endocarditis. Lupus patients also have a high risk of developing atherosclerosis.
- Pulmonary system: Persons affected with this disease also presents with pleurisy, a condition in which there is an inflammation of the pleural Some of the other conditions caused by this disease include pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary emboli, pulmonary haemorrhage and so on.
- Kidneys: Persons affected with this disease might present with blood or protein in their urine. Other renal conditions that are associated with lupus include lupus nephritis, which might eventually lead to renal failure. However, this is prevented, if the disease is diagnosed early enough. It’s important to know that the black population has a significantly higher risk of developing renal symptoms and complications as compared to other races.
What Are the Causes of System Lupus Erythematosus?
Systemic lupus erythematosus occurs when the body immune system fails to recognize the healthy body tissues and attacks them. As earlier mentioned, lupus occurs as a result of a combination between genetics and environmental factors. However, there are some factors that contribute to the development of this disease. Some of these triggers include the following;
- Sunlight: The prolonged exposure to sunlight, is one of the factors that could trigger lupus. This can lead to the eruptions of skin lesions and so on.
- Medications: There are some medications that trigger Examples of such drugs include anti-epileptic drugs, antibiotics and so on. However, people get better when they stop using the medications.
- Infections: Infections do increase the risk of initiating this disease. It can also lead to relapse.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Developing Lupus?
There are some factors that contribute to the development of lupus. Below are some of the symptoms;
- Gender: Studies have shown that lupus tends to occur more in women, than in men.
- Age: Lupus do affect everyone, regardless of age. However, it has been noted that it’s more common in people between the ages of 15 and 45.
- Race: Lupus is more prominent in African-Americans, Hispanics and so on.
How Is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Currently Treated?
There is no cure for this disease. However, treatment can be given to ease the symptoms of the disease. Some medications that can be used are topical steroid creams for skin problems, corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment of pains and joint rigidity.
262 Longitudinal Assessment of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity: British Isles Lupus Assessment Group 2004, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index 2000 or Both?. (2016). Rheumatology.
Barfield, C. (1980). Discoid Lupus Erythematosus and Tuberculosis Simulating Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Archives of Internal Medicine, 140(5), p.715.