Lupus is a group of autoimmune diseases. These diseases cause the immune system to start attacking healthy tissues like blood cells, joints, lungs, hearts, kidneys and your skin. There are 4 main types of lupus. They include: drug-induced, systemic, neonatal and discoid. Out of these 4, systemic is the most commonly occurring. Lupus generally effects women. About 90% of people who will get lupus are women between the ages of 15 and 45. African-American women are 3 times more likely to get lupus than other women. About 15,000 cases of lupus pop up each year in the United States.
Swelling and pain in the joints are the most common symptoms of lupus.
Sometimes lupus sufferers will become afflicted with arthritis. Knees, wrists, hands and fingers are, generally, the most affected areas on the human body. Since lupus is different for everyone it is difficult to come up with any more set signs or symptoms that accompany the disease.
As mentioned earlier lupus occurs when the body’s auto immune system malfunctions. It is unknown what causes this to occur. Whether it is hereditary or something in the environment or even a virus is unknown by professionals. There have been a lot of breakthroughs in the last 100 years regarding lupus. It is hoped that a better understanding and cure will eventually be discovered. Currently, researchers are looking at immune system problems, environment, genes and hormones as possible causes of lupus.
If you have lupus you will generally be treated by someone who specializes in rheumatology. Lupus is difficult to control because it is unpredictable, but as long as you keep an eye on it, it is possible to find the right treatment plan for you. Some different treatment methods include: corticosteroids for inflammation, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (for those with mild cases), antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs (generally used for sleeping problems), corticosteroid creams for rashes, drugs that suppress the immune system and hydrochloroquine (a drug that helps reduce “lupus flare”).
Diet for lupus sufferers is also a very important addition to their treatment regimen. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy fats will help reduce some of the pain and inflammation that lupus causes. Fish oil will help lessen joint pain, especially oil from deep water, fatty fish like tuna, salmon or sardines. It is important to avoid processed foods whenever possible. Exercise and rest are also two forms of treatment that those suffering from lupus have found merit in.
The prognosis for lupus is a lot better than what it used to be. There are many sufferers who have never had to be hospitalized. It is a matter of keeping an eye on it, taking your prescribed medications and seeing your doctor regularly. Another factor is not having lupus affect any of your major organs. This is out of your hands, as your immune system just seems to randomly attack areas. Mostly all lupus-related deaths occur when the major organs are attacked. Lupus can cause osteoporosis, heart diseases and kidney disease.