Know the basics

What is lupus?

Lupus is a disease of the immune system. Commonly, your immune system protects your tissues and organs from the antigen. However, in this case, the immune system attacks them, it cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues, and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue.

As a result, this chronic inflammatory disease can affect many different body systems, including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs.  Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.

Lupus is not contagious, not even through sexual contact. Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain drugs or even sunlight.

How common is lupus?

This health condition is extremely common. It commonly affects more females (14-45 years old) than males. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of lupus?

The common symptoms of lupus vary from person to person, include:

  • Achy, swelling joint;
  • Muscle pain;
  • Fever without reason;
  • Extreme fatigue in a long time;
  • Rashness skin;
  • Painful chest when breathing deeply;
  • Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress;
  • Sensitivity to the sun;
  • Swelling in legs or around eyes;
  • Mouth ulcers;
  • Swollen glands;
  • Chest pain when taking a deep breath;
  • Hair loss.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following: unexplained rash, ongoing fever, persistent aching or fatigue.

Know the causes

What causes lupus?

The reason of lupus is unknown. It’s likely that lupus results from a combination of your genetics and your environment. People with an inherited gene might get lupus by some triggers in the environment such as sunlight, infections, using anti-seizure medications, blood pressure medications and antibiotic.

There are several kinds of lupus:

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common type. It can be mild or severe, and can affect many parts of the body.
  • Discoid lupus causes a red rash that doesn’t go away.
  • Subacute cutaneous lupus causes sores after being out in the sun.
  • Drug-induced lupus is caused by certain medicines. It usually goes away when you stop taking the medicine.
  • Neonatal lupus, which is rare, affects newborns. It is probably caused by certain antibodies from the mother.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for lupus?

There are many risk factors for lupus, such as:

  • Lupus is more common in women.
  • Although lupus affects people of all ages, it’s most often diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40.
  • Lupus is more common in African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is lupus diagnosed?

It is difficult to diagnose lupus because signs and symptoms of lupus may vary over time and overlap with those of many other disorders. This disease needs the combination of signs and symptoms and other tests to confirm the diagnosis.

  • Medical history;
  • Complete exam;
  • Blood tests;
  • Skin biopsy (looking at skin samples under a microscope);
  • Kidney biopsy (looking at tissue from your kidney under a microscope).

How is lupus treated?

There is no cure for lupus. Treatment for lupus depends on your signs and symptoms. The medications most commonly used to control lupus include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as naproxen sodium (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), may be used to treat pain, swelling and fever associated with lupus. Stronger NSAIDs are available by prescription.
  • Antimalarial drugs. Medications commonly used to treat malaria, such as hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), also can help control lupus. Side effects can include stomach upset and, very rarely, damage to the retina of the eye.
  • Prednisone and other types of corticosteroids can counter the inflammation of lupus but often produce severe long-term side. The risk of side effects increases with higher doses and longer term therapy.
  • Drugs that suppress the immune system may be helpful in serious cases of lupus. Examples include azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan), mycophenolate (CellCept), leflunomide (Arava) and methotrexate (Trexall), belimumab (Benlysta).

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage lupus?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with lupus:

  • See your doctor regularly.It is important to regularly checkup instead of only seeing your doctor when your symptoms worsen. This may help your doctor prevent flare-ups, and can be useful in addressing routine health concerns, such as stress, diet, and exercise.
  • Has a healthy lifestyle such as exercising frequently, resting, eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Protect yourself from the sun because you have a chance to rashes or flares when exposed to the sun.
  • Get plenty of sleep at night and naps or breaks during the day as needed.
  • Ask for help. Consider joining a support group. It often helps to talk to others who have been through similar experiences.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: October 4, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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