The Facts About Lupus
Our immune system is intended to keep us safe. It protects us from the viruses and bacteria that are trying to harm us. But what happens when our immune system gets a bit overprotective? Like an overprotective parent, our immune system can sometimes do more damage than good.
Lupus is one of the diseases that turns our immune system against us. People with lupus often have to deal with numerous health issues as their internals break down slowly. Living with Lupus can be a difficult and painful experience that no one really wants to experience.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is what’s known as an autoimmune disease. This means that people with lupus have their immune system actively attack them instead of attacking invading antibodies. Rather than seeing only real threats to the body, lupus treats healthy tissue within the body as threats and breaks those down as well.
Sadly, there’s no concrete cause for Lupus know. For now, it appears that it may be a genetic defect in specific genes. However it is known that specific things trigger Lupus attacks. There are a lot of things like tobacco, chemicals and certain medicines that will trigger a person’s Lupus and result in a distinct attack. Other people have it trigger through environmental aspects like sunlight.
Many people experience lupus in different organs. This means that there are almost always different symptoms for different people. The severity of lupus also comes into play. People with more severe cases will have more severe and different symptoms as well. Here are some things people should be on the lookout for:
- Joint/Muscle Pain - The joint pain can be especially rough as the joints will often appear reddened while they swell and feel warm to the touch.
- Skin Issues - Rashes are very common and one of the best diagnosis tools that doctors have when they are looking for lupus. The most common rash is a facial rash that will appear on the cheeks and nose of the person. That being said, rashes can appear on most parts of the body.
- Fatigue - Fatigue is one of the more standardized symptoms of lupus. Many people can’t even complete daily activities when the fatigue hit. For people who have lupus, this severe fatigue is a sign that they are likely about to experience a bad flare up.
- Unexpected Weight Loss - Those suffering from lupus will often lose a large amount of weight during flare-ups as the immune system attacks their organs.
There are many different treatments that are often chosen for lupus. The type of treatment is usually decided based on the severity of lupus. Sometimes lupus will let up and sometimes it will get worse, so treatment has to remain flexible. There are no cures, however, so everything is about treating the symptoms and keeping life livable.
For people who don’t have advanced lupus, their treatment is all about avoiding and minimizing flare-ups. This means that much of the treatment is about changing lifestyle and preventative choices. Those with lupus have to avoid sunlight and get a lot of rest. They need to be incredibly careful with medications. Some may use medicated creams for their rashes, but again, they must be very careful about what medications are included.
Those who have a more severe case of lupus will typically need to take some other medications. These are more powerful and severe. Some will actually have to take medications that suppress their immune system, which can have adverse effects from other diseases.