What is Lupus?

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By definition Lupus is inflammation that causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissue cells as well as the body’s major organs (i.e. Heart, Lungs, Kidneys, Joints, Skin and Blood Cells). Medically speaking there are four types of Lupus, however Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is the most serious form of Lupus, and also the most common form of the disease. Though this remains a serious disease, the prognosis is much more promising today than it was in years past. A person living with Lupus, when coupled with early detection and proper treatment, can lead a very ordinary life.

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus is a variation of the Lupus that causes scarring through permanent skin rashes. Usually on the face or scalp, these red legions cause the skin to appear dry and flaky, and tend form where hair is present, resulting in hair loss. Though this form of Lupus is usually limited to skin rashes, major organs have been affected in rare cases. Younger patients, such as children, and patients of any age with multiple legions have a much higher risk for developing organ damage. Much like Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, the most common form of Lupus, it is believed this autoimmune disease causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy skin. Exposure to ultraviolite rays, in many cases, have caused these legions to appear, with cigarette smoking also attributed to its onset.

Subacute Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus is a subset of Systemic Lupus and Discoid Lupus, causing non-scarring legions to appear on the skin. These rashes usually appear in those with Discoid Lupus only, who do not have the Systemic Lupus, which attacks the organs. The legions can be treated and do not cause permanent scarring.

Drug-Induced Lupus resembles the symptoms of Systemic Lupus, though it is caused by lengthy exposure to medications used to treat chronic illnesses. The most common three illnesses include Hypertension, Heart Disease, and Thyroid disease. Anti-inflammatory medications, and medications used to treat psychiatric disorders also trigger drug-induced lupus. All of these medications form antibodies that attack the body’s healthy tissue, which gives the same outward appearance as Systemic Lupus. To properly diagnose drug-induced Lupus, the use of these medications must be completely discontinued until the symptoms have disappeared, usually within two days to a week. To ensure the symptoms were drug-induced, symptoms must not recur during this period. After several weeks, zero symptoms should be present. Pronestyl, Apresoline and Quinaglute are the three medications most associated with drug-induced lupus, though there are over 30 medications that can cause this reaction.

Neonatal Lupus is a very rare form of the disease that effects newborns. The mother produces autoantibodies that are passed to the fetus. Symptoms of Neonatal Lupus appear in the first few weeks of life in the form of a skin rash on the face. Most cases disappear within six months, however there are severe cases where Congenial Heart block occurs. These cases can result in congestive heart failure if left untreated. Treating these rare cases can include the insertion of an artificial pacemaker.

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Symptoms of Lupus

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5] Symptoms of Lupus, known as flares, can range from mild, …

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