What is Lupus Disease?Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease where the immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy tissues. As a result, it can cause inflammation through your body, affecting many different body systems, including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart, lungs, and brain. The signs and symptoms of lupus mimic those of other body ailments, thus making it difficult to be diagnosed. The most distinctive sign is a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across the two cheeks of its patients (lupus butterfly rash). However, this may not occur in all cases. Lupus ranges from mild to quite severe. It develops to severe when there is no proper treatment. At present, lupus has no known cure. So concentration is always on managing the symptoms and reducing inflammation. Anyone can get lupus, but women between 15 and 44 are most affected.
TypesLupus is categorized into 4 types, namely:
- Systematic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).
- Cutaneous Lupus
- Acute (red rash appearing on the cheeks and nose, causing the “butterfly rash”).
- Sub-acute (formed on body exposed to sunlight, leading to no scars).
- Chronic cutaneous lupus or discoid lupus erythematosus (causing purple or red rash, skin discoloration, scarring, and hair loss).
- Neonatal Lupus
- Drug-induced Lupus (DIL)
- PPI’s such as: Esmolol, Lansoprazole, pantoprazole,omeprazole. NSAIDs: Aspirin, sulfasalazine, phenylbutazone, naproxen, piroxicam. Anti-inflammatories: Penicillamine. Ranitidine (antacids). Antiarrhythmics: Quinidine, tocainide, propafenone, procainamide, amiodarone . Anti-tumor necrosis factors drugs: infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab . Procainamidemethyldopa
- Hydralazine IsoniazidTerbinafine
- Genetic factor 
- Environmental factors: Smoking, infections, exposure to the sunlight, pollutants.
ComplicationsInflammation due to lupus can affect many parts of your body, which includes :
- Blood and Blood Vessels. It may cause blood problems such as anemia, blood clotting, and inflammation of the blood vessels.
- Brain and the Central Nervous System.
- Death of Bone Tissues.
- Pregnancy Complications.
How is Lupus diagnosed?Lupus, as mentioned earlier, is difficult to examine because it has many mimicking symptoms which are often mistaken for signs of other diseases. Most of the patients are not even aware of their disease. There is no such single confirmatory test available for diagnosing lupus disease. Based on the clinical examinations, medical and family history and other laboratory examinations help the doctor diagnose the disease.
- Family history of lupus or other autoimmune diseases.
- Medical History.
- Physical Examination.
- Blood and Urine Tests
- Imaging tests
- Skin or Kidney Biopsy
Treatment of LupusLupus does not have a cure. Treatments done can only help a patient feel better and reduce symptoms. This means that you can manage it, but it would not go away entirely. The treatment depends on your symptoms and needs, and it is aimed at preventing flare-ups, treating symptoms whenever they appear, and reducing organ damages and other disorders. The treatment might include medications to:
- Reduces pain and swelling.
- Reduce or prevent organ damages.
- Reduce or prevent damage to the joints.
- Calm the immune system, preventing possible attacks on body organs and tissues.
MEDICATIONS FOR LUPUSCommon lupus medications include:
- Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).
- Anti-malaria Drugs.
- BLyS-Specific Inhibitors.
- Immunosuppressive Agents and Chemotherapy
- Biologic drugs: These are the drugs that mimic natural proteins such as Benlysta(Belimumab), Rituxan(rituximab), etc. .
- Vitamins and Supplements.
- Acupuncture: for pain and fatigue management
- Other Medicines.
- If you have new symptoms.
- If you have become pregnant.
- About any side effects of the drugs.
- About any vitamins or herbal supplements.
- If the medicines are no longer helpful to your symptoms.
CONCLUSIONThe prognosis nowadays is far better than before. Looking closely at the close follow-ups and treatments, it is estimated that about 80%─90% of people with lupus can expect to live in an average life span. However, unfortunately, evidence abounds that medical science or experts have not developed a cure for lupus yet, and some people die from this dreadful disease.
SYMPTOMS OF LUPUS
The signs of lupus usually depend on the part it affects in your body. It can also vary depending on the individual. The symptoms may be:
- Disappear suddenly.
- Flare-up occasionally.
Even though no two cases of lupus are the same, the most common symptoms and signs among them include:
- High fever.
- Body aches.
- Joint pains.
- Chest pain when taking a deep breath.
- Rashes (plus butterfly-shaped rash on the face).
- Loss of appetite.
- Weight loss.
- Mouth ulcers.
- Skin lesions (infected injuries or wounds).
- Hair loss.
- Swollen glands.
- Shortness of breath.
- Dry eyes.
- Memory loss.
- Sun sensitivity.
- Pericarditis and pleuritis (both can cause chest pain).
- Joint inflammation, stiffness, and pains.
Lupus inflammation affects various organs and tissues, and can be obvious in the:
The inflammation can also cause complications in various organs, such as the:
WHAT CAUSES LUPUS?
The exact cause of lupus is not known. It is thought to be a combination of many underlying factors, which may include:
More than 50 genes have been identified to be associated with lupus. Having a family history places you slightly at a higher risk for having lupus.
Abnormal hormone levels, such as increased estrogen levels may contribute to lupus.
Potential triggers like smoking, stress, and exposure to certain toxins, like silica dust, are likely to cause lupus.
Infections like cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr are linked with the causes of lupus.
Long-term medications such as hydralazine (Apresoline), procainamide (Procanbid), and quinidine, have been linked with causing a type of lupus called drug-induced lupus erythematosus (DIL).
Also, TNF medications for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and ankylosing spondylitis, can develop DIL. Tetracyclines like minocycline that is used to treat acne and rosacea, can likewise cause DIL.
Sometimes, lupus patients don’t experience any of the listed potential causes of lupus.