Systemic lupus also called lupus is a chronic condition or illness and is an inflammatory disease that tends to affects more women than men. This is one of the auto immune diseases in which cells, tissues and organs of the body are attacked by the immune system and this causes damage to the body and affects its functioning.
With systemic lupus the patient may experience periods wherein the disease activity and its associated problems are minimum while in other cases some patients may experience severe problems such as inflammation. In this chronic illness the inflammation can affect the heart, joints, blood vessels, skin, liver, nervous system and the kidneys.
The symptoms of systemic lupus differ for different cases. Where the inflammation in a patient is mostly on the skin it is called discoid or cutaneous lupus. Such inflammation can be easily identified by the rashes on the neck, face and the scalp. Only in extreme rare cases discoid lupus can result in systemic lupus erythematosus.
There are some factors that can contribute towards development of systemic lupus erythematosus. Genes are regarded to be one of reasons for the development of this illness. Inherited genes and viruses can result in development of this chronic problem. This is particularly true if a patient’s first degree relative also suffers from this illness. Environmental aspects such as pollution and exposure to light, ultraviolet light in particular can also result in this condition. Estrogen can also be one of the contributory factors to the development of this chronic illness. Women are more likely to suffer from this condition as compared to men. In lupus many people develop skin rashes, joint pain along with muscle pain and fatigue.
Some people suffering from lupus also experience arthritis problems which include inflammation and pain in the joints. Fatigue is one of the most debilitating problems associated with this chronic condition. Skin rashes may vary in severity in the different cases. Mouth ulcers may also be experienced in some cases of systemic lupus .
People with lupus are particularly sensitive towards sunlight and prolonged exposure can worsen the rashes. People may also experience hair loss and kidney problems too. Diagnosis of systemic lupus is done with help of some tests along with evaluation of the symptoms. An Anti nuclear antibody test or ANA as it is called is used for the diagnosis along with other blood tests, skin or kidney biopsy and also X rays.
Treatment for lupus include taking anti inflammatory tablets to minimize the inflammation and associated joint pain. Anti malarial drugs such as hydroxychloroquine are also used. Immunosuppressive drugs may also be used. Besides following a treatment plan peoples suffering from lupus have to take care of their diet also.