Symptoms of lupus disease can be read if one were to pay close attention to certain changes that the body is undergoing. Find out what those signs are, what causes them to take form and what treatment is available for this…
Termed under what is known as an autoimmune disease, lupus is a condition where the body’s immune system rages out of control, attacking healthy, normal tissue. Antibodies which the immune system produces, are protein fighters that protect and guard the body from antigens like bacteria and viruses. So because there are mixed messages about which are the healthy tissue and which ones are the antigens,thus forcing the immune system to attack organs and healthy tissue of the body.
It can affect any one part / various parts of the body, like the skin, kidneys, heart, brain, muscles and so on. It can affect those who are extremely young, like 10-year-olds, to the elderly in their fifties. There are four types of lupus diseases, namely, discoid lupus erythematosus, systemic lupus erythematosus, drug-induced lupus erythematosus and neonatal lupus erythematosus. When it is systemic (SLE) in nature, it means that any part of the body can be involved; when it is DLE, it involves only the skin; drug induced lupus is caused by certain types of drugs, and neonatal lupus affects newborns, though rare.
Let’s try to understand now about what causes lupus, and how one is subjected to its effects, be it systemic or otherwise in nature. As minuscule as a cause may be, it can develop into something serious; the best way to prevent this is to do what you can to protect yourself at this time.
- Exposure to ultraviolet rays
- Viral illness
- Stress that is emotional in nature
- Dust particle exposure
- Prolonged sun exposure
- Reaction to antibiotics
- Sulfa drugs
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Exposure to well water
- Giving birth
The symptoms of lupus disease range from mild to alarming depending on the case at hand, and how far it has progressed.
- Chest pain while breathing
- Hands and feet swell (reaction due to kidney disease)
- Joints start to ache
- Eyes are dry
- Blood clotting problems
- Extremely tired
- Swollen wrists
- Fever exceeds temperatures of a 100°F.
- Alopecia (hair loss)
- Raynaud’s phenomenon (fingers turn bluish-white, when exposed to cold)
- Easily bruised
- Nose ulcers, including the mouth
- Weight loss
- Body parts start to swell (edema)
- Appetite is poor
- Sunlight sensitivity
- Lesions on the cheeks, scalp and nose
For treatment, we look through the different options that patients have when dealing with the different types of lupus disease and its effects.
For Mild Cases – Medication Round 1
Drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium are given to patients to treat inflammatory problems, along with the other symptoms of this condition. An over the counter medication is given called NSAIDS, which is a much stronger medicine for those suffering from lupus. Side effects are evident, so check with your doctor first before starting out on these. Corticosteroids are given for inflammation as well, but can have serious aftereffects on the body, with infection as a probable case. For this reason, these medicines aren’t given to patients for a long period of time. Doctors will prescribe just exactly how one should take these. Antimalarial drugs are provided to help treat the signs of this disease. It can control the illness from further progressing, but yet again one has to be careful of the side effects. Supplements are provided in vitamin D and calcium form, to help reduce the chances of developing osteoporosis.
For Severe Cases – Medication Round 2
For those suffering from serious cases of this condition, immunosuppressive drugs are given to stop the immune system from going haywire. Drugs of this kind include azathioprine and cyclophosphamide. For those suffering from kidney problems as a result of this, a medicine called mycophenolate is given. A high dose of corticosteroids are also administered, either orally or intravenously – like mentioned earlier, look out for side effects when put on this.
It is important to have the symptoms checked out immediately, especially since this is hereditary in nature, and most likely to develop in those of Asian and African-American descent. Always remember to have medications evaluated by a doctor since the side effects can have an adverse reaction on the body. Stay safe.