Lupus is an autoimmune disease which causes the immune system to attack its own cells, while ignoring the foreign organisms and substances such as viruses and bacteria. This process is accompanied by inflammation and oftentimes provokes the other serious diseases.
The full name for lupus is systemic lupus erythematosus. Although a significant number of patients with this disease experience the symptoms only in their weakest manifestation, lupus itself is incurable. In many cases, the disease can exacerbate. However, patients do can control some characteristic symptoms as well as prevent the disease progressing into its latest stages. Usually, this entails a regular medical examination, promptly taking prescribed medications and an active lifestyle.
Lupus is not an infectious disease; you can not get infested through the contact with other people. What makes lupus a complicated disease is its symptoms usually manifest themselves differently for every individual. It can actually influence literally every organ. Some people may experience a swollen knee or fever. Another may be constantly tired or have a kidney failure. Someone else may be covered with a rash. Skin tuberculosis can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart and / or brain. In fact, lupus can affect two or three parts of a body at any one time.
Types of lupus
There are three types of lupus:
● systemic lupus erythematosus which is the most common form and it is usually referred to simply as ‘lupus’. The word “systemic” means the disease can affect many parts of the body such as the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain. Symptoms can be mild or severe;
● erythema induratum which mainly affects the skin. A person may get a red rash, or experience a change of color on the face, scalp, or elsewhere;
● cutaneous tuberculosis which is caused by drugs. This type of the disease is similar to the systemic one, although the symptoms are usually milder. In many cases, the disease ceases when the drug is no longer consumed.
Symptoms of lupus
The main symptoms of lupus are the feeling of an extreme fatigue, skin rash and pains in the joints. If the disease progresses, it also negatively influences functioning and overall condition of the heart, kidneys, nervous system, blood and lungs.
Lupus symptoms directly depend on which organs are affected by it as well as on the degree of damage they cause. The most significant are the following symptoms:
● weakness. Almost all patients complain they experience fatigue in varying degrees. Even if lupus occurs in its mild form, its symptoms are making a significant impact on the patient’s lifestyle, making the usual activities more complicated to carry. If fatigue manifests itself powerfully, it should be taken as a symptom indicating the imminent worsening of the disease;
● pains in muscles and joints. Most patients who are diagnosed with lupus, experience the pain in the joints (i.e., arthritis) from time to time. With regard to the joints, they can often acquire the red color, get a little swollen and warm. Some patients notice a sense of stillness in the morning. Arthritis primarily occurs in the areas of wrists, knees, ankles and elbows;
● skin diseases. The predominant majority of lupus patients also experienced the appearance of skin rash. The painful red spots appear in the areas of nose, cheeks, arms, back, neck, lips and even in the mouth. Also, the rash may be bumpy purple or red and dry;
● increased light sensitivity. In particular, ultraviolet light (like sunlight) contributes to the exacerbation of rash, at the same time provoking and worsening other lupus symptoms. Fair-haired people are especially sensitive to such influence;
● disorders of the nervous system. Quite often, lupus is accompanied by the diseases of the nervous system. These specifically include headaches, depression, anxiety, etc. One of the less common symptoms is impairment of memory;
● various heart diseases. Many patients suffering from lupus also face heart diseases. An inflammation of the pericardium develops, which in turn can provoke an acute pain in the left side of the chest. Further, the pains can spread to the back and neck, as well as to the shoulders and arms;
● mental disorders. Lupus is also accompanied by mental health problems. For example, patients can be in a constant and unmotivated state of anxiety or depression. These symptoms are caused with both lupus itself and the medicine used to treat it. Stress that accompanies many chronic diseases can also be a factor;
● the change in a body temperature. Oftentimes, lupus manifests itself with a symptom such as a lowered temperature;
● weight change. Exacerbation of lupus is usually accompanied by a rapid weight loss;
● hair loss. Hair loss in the case of lupus is a temporary symptom;
● inflammation of the lymph nodes which usually manifests itself in their swelling;
● Raynaud’s phenomenon. In this case, small vessels are affected in a way which causes the blood to flow to the soft tissues and the skin in the areas beneath the toes and hands. These areas can then acquire a white, red or blue tint. In addition, the affected areas are experiencing numbness and tingling with the simultaneous increase of their temperature;
● swelling of the feet and palms. Some patients may also get a kidney disease. This becomes an obstacle to the removal of body fluids. The accumulation of excess fluid can cause swelling of the feet and palms;
● anemia. Anemia is a condition characterized by a decrease in the amount of hemoglobin in the blood cells, which is responsible for the oxygen transportation. Many people with certain chronic diseases may face anemia over time.
The most urgent measures to know of
The treatment of lupus should be started as soon as possible. This will help to avoid the damage of organs and any irreversible consequences it can cause. With regards to the main drugs used for treatment, these include anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids. Unfortunately, about half of the total number of patients diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, cannot be cured with the standard treatment.
For this reason, a stem cells therapy can be assigned. It is aimed at the suppression of the immune system to destroy it completely. Further, to restore the immune system, the stem cells that have been previously withdrawn are used. As a rule, the efficiency of this method is achieved in refractory and severe stages, as well as in the most difficult, if not hopeless, cases.