Lupus or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is a long-term life altering autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks the healthy tissue by creating auto antibodies. This disease can affect any organ of the body causing damage, pain and inflammation and due to its complex nature, lupus is sometimes known as the “disease of a thousand faces.” It is a potentially fatal disease commonly seen in women between the ages of 15- 45 years. Lupus is still under-recognized and people are unaware about this condition.
Causes- It is caused by a variety of factors such as:
(i) Hormonal problem- women (15-45 years) experience lupus more often as compared to men due to higher estrogen level.
(ii) Environmental factors: exposure to sunlight, stress, smoking, virus infection, medications.
(iii) Family history: Family members with lupus have higher risks of this condition.
Types of Lupus- There are different types of Lupus but Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is the most common among all.
- Cutaneous lupus erythematosus: This type of lupus affects the skin. People experience skin issues like a sensitivity to the sun, rashes and hair loss.
- Drug-induced lupus: This is caused by certain medications. Symptoms are same as that of systemic lupus erythematosus, but it’s usually temporary.
- Neonatal lupus: A rare type of lupus, this is condition found in infants at birth. Children born with neonatal lupus have antibodies that were passed to them from their mother — who either had lupus at the time of the pregnancy or may have the condition later in life.
- Sensitivity to sunlight, rashes, hair loss
- shortness of breath, fever, headache
- chest pain, stomach pain, joint pain and muscles pain
- Fatigue, dry eyes and mouth sores
- Blood clots
Diagnosis and Treatment-
- Blood cell count and detection of biomarkers responsible for lupus.
- Urine examination for the lupus affecting kidneys.
- Antinuclear antibody (ANA) test to find out the possibility of this autoimmune disorder.
- Tissue biopsy for skin.
- Medicines such as hydroxychloroquine, steroids, etc.
Prevention and Control-
- Prevent exposure to sunlight.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle- nutrient rich diet, regular exercise.
- Management of stress
- By quitting smoking as smoking increases the risk of lupus.
- Take preventive medicines in case of emergency.