WHAT IS LUPUS?

Lupus Is an autoimmune disorder that can affect the Lupus organs of your body. It is more common in the age group 15 to 30 years. It is predominantly seen in women, then in men. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease. However, present-day treatment may ensure a life expectancy of more than 10 years In those treated correctly.

What are the main symptoms of lupus?

The main features include fever, body ache, joint pains and swelling, and rashes. Most of the affected complaint about easy stability, hair loss, and body ache. The symptoms are very variable. The symptoms depend upon the organs involved.

What causes lupus?

It is an autoimmune disorder, hence our body launches an immune reaction against our own tissues. This is against the various components of our cells, including the nucleus. A particular genetic profile and environmental stress are known to be responsible for the same. Certain drugs can be responsible for lupus. Exposure to sunlight can aggravate lupus. Lupus is also known as systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE. Oestrogen hormone in women is also known to be one of the predisposing factors.

How to diagnose lupus?

The diagnosis is basically clinical, supported by laboratory tests. Skin rashes, particularly a butterfly rash on the face, hair loss, fever, fatigue, joint pains without deformities, oral ulcers, cough, and breath. Less ness, chest pain, and recurrent abortions in women are a few important features. The tendency for thrombus formation in arteries and veins may be the first manifestation of the disease.

Can the brain be involved in lupus?

Unexplained headaches, seizures, giddiness, para-lytic stroke, paralysis of both lower limbs, and certain psychological and psychiatric symptoms are common if the brain is involved. MRI of the brain is helpful in most cases.

What about the heart and lungs?

There could be symptoms of cough, chest pain, and breathlessness. The collection of fluid around the heart and lungs is common. This can lead to cough, breathlessness, and chest pain.

What about kidneys being affected?

The presence of proteins and red blood cells in urine is the commonest presentation. Progressive kidney failure can occur in untreated cases. Some may even require dialysis or kidney transplant. Most of the individuals who have kidneys involvement have significant hypertension.

What about Joint involvement?

Most would complain about multiple joint pains. Both the large and small joints of the hands and feet may be involved. The stiffness is observed early in the morning. Unlike in rheumatoid arthritis, joint deformities are rare

What are the common investigations required to confirm the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus?

Blood tests that include ANA. DS DNA, complement levels, complete blood counts including platelets, urinalysis, and kidney functions are necessary. Other investigations would depend upon the organs involved. Most of the organs of our body can be affected.

What about lupus in young women?

Women before they begin their married life require proper counseling about the course of the disease, contraception, and pregnancy During pregnancy they require specific treatment and guidance as lupus flares up in pregnancy.

What about treatment?

Antimalarials like Hydroxychloroquine, immunosuppressants like steroids, methotrexate, sunscreen lotions are important. Proper management of hypertension and anticoagulants in antiphospholipid syndrome is suggested. All individuals with lupus should have proper vaccination against coronavirus, influenza, and pneumococcal pneumonia. Long-term steroid therapy is associated with side effects, proper precautions are required in this regard.

Is this disease genetic and can it be curable?

Neonatal lupus probably has a genetic potential. However, lupus is a chronic incurable dis-ease with intermittent flare-ups of the disease. The disease is a great mimicker. Many other medical conditions mimic this disease. Hence, a careful assessment of the patient is required. There is a great awareness of lupus in India today. Though incurable, the life expectancy is more than 10 years after diagnosis. However, the management requires great patience, family support, and a proper understanding of the disease in various stages and patterns of presentation.

Categories : Health

Dr Jay Deshmukh is Chief Physician and Director, Sunflower Hospital, Nagpur Honorary Physician to Honorable Governor of Maharashtra and PondicherryCentral. Dr Jay Deshmukh is an M.B.B.S., M.C.P.S., F.C.P.S., M.N.A.M.S., MD From Internal Medicine – Bombay and New Delhi.

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