Lupus is a chronic and autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body, such as skin, joints and organs inside the body. The reason this condition is considered chronic it is because symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.
Lupus damages the immune system
Our immune system is the only tool we have that can be used in fighting all sorts of diseases. This is why we have to keep it to optimum level by all means. But with lupus, something goes wrong with the immune system causing it to stop protecting our body from viruses, bacteria or germs.
Normally, the immune system produces a type of protein called antibodies that are responsible for keeping invaders away. When dealing with an autoimmune disease, our immune system can no longer tell the difference between foreign intruders and the body’s healthy tissues therefore it creates autoantibodies that attack and demolish healthy cells, causing inflammation, pain and severe damage in various parts of the body.
Most people only develop mild symptoms of lupus but it is a lifelong disease and can develop into a severe form. Nevertheless, symptoms can be controlled and damages can be avoided with the help of medical attention and supervision, special medication, rest and physical exercises.
The most common and most serious type of lupus is the systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE but there are other types such as discoid or cutaneous lupus, drug-induced systemic lupus and neonatal lupus.
The exact cause of lupus has still not been discovered. Experts believe that certain people are born with different genes that have the ability to lower the power of the immune system which eventually leads to lupus debut. Depending from one person to another, lupus can be triggered by all sorts of attacks which include viral infections, like mononucleosis, and also, sunlight.
Lupus symptoms may vary a lot, since there are times when they get worse, called relapses, or periods when they vanish, also known as flares. The times when symptoms are under control are called remissions.
Common symptoms of lupus include fatigue and joint paint or swelling, arthritis, fever and skin rash. Rashes can appear due to sun exposure. There are cases in which people experience mouth sores and hail loss but also problems with the heart, lungs, kidneys, blood cells and nervous system.
It is not easy to diagnose lupus since it can affect people in different ways and most symptoms can be associated with other diseases. In general, a medical doctor will examine the patient, discuss about his symptoms and past health and test their urine and blood for pointers.
Additional facts about lupus that you should know
Lupus is not a contagious disease and won’t be passed on through sexual contact. It is basically impossible to give lupus to someone.
There is no link between lupus and cancer. While cancer is a condition of malignant, abnormal tissues that grow rapidly and spread into other tissues, lupus is in fact an autoimmune disease caused by your own body.
Although many people consider that lupus is related to HIV, Human Immune Deficiency Virus, or AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, because of the weaken immune system, in reality, HIV or AIDS is based on a underactive immune system , on contrary to lupus, where the immune system is overactive.
Almost 5 million people on this planet suffer from a form of lupus. Most people develop lupus between the ages of 15-44 and it is spread especially among women.