Among all the autoimmune diseases there are, lupus is one of the most mysterious and, very often, most misunderstood ones. Lupus affects people of all ages, even children, but it is more commonly encountered among African Americans, Latino Americans and Native Americans and it can really affect one’s life in many ways.
What is lupus though? Is it a common disease? Why is it so mysterious and why can it be deadly? Is there any way to cure lupus? There are, indeed a lot of questions when it comes to this disease, but the harsh truth is that not even the most preeminent specialists in the world have been able to figure out most of the answers. However, this article has put together the very most important things one should know about lupus and it will try to provide you with as many answers as possible.
Lupus: the Hidden Danger
The human body was designed to work in perfect harmony, but when one of its systems fail, it will most likely affect the other ones too. The immune system is responsible with keeping strangers out of our body (viruses, harmful microorganisms and so on) and it will automatically generate little “soldiers” to fight off any intruder. And yet, even such an intelligent system such as the immune one will have its flaws.
Lupus affects the immune system in the human body. It is difficult to define lupus with precision because there are still many things we don’t understand about the way in which this disease functions. We do understand, however, that lupus causes the immune system to generate its soldiers when that is not needed and to push them into attacking the healthy tissues in our body. Eventually, lupus can really destroy everything from within.
There are several methods to diagnose lupus, but sometimes, the condition can remain hidden under other conditions and symptoms. Once the diagnosis is put though, the patients know that they have to keep their disease under control because otherwise the risk of death would be too high.
What Symptoms Does Lupus Show?
There is a whole variety of symptoms that can be associated with lupus and with the effect it can have on the human body. Butterfly rashes and swelling (of the legs, of the eyes and so on) are probably the most commonly known symptoms, but other than that, there are many others that can appear. Things such as malaise, fatigue, light sensitivity, joint problems, arthritis, purple toes, chest pain, headaches, mouth sores and fever that appears without a reason proper are very common too.
On top of everything, when lupus leads to complications, there are even more severe symptoms that can be developed. In the worst case scenario, a patient can experience confusion, dizziness, a change in behavior, kidney damage, blood clots, heart muscle inflammation, bone tissue death and even certain forms of cancer as well. Also, women who are pregnant can suffer a miscarriage if their lupus shows complications. All these severe symptoms can be extremely dangerous and potentially deadly for the patients because they can make various systems in their bodies to fail without coming back.
What Causes Lupus?
There are approximately 1.5 million people in the United States only who have been diagnosed with lupus – and that means that this is not the least encountered disease there is. We have known this disease for two centuries at least and we still haven’t found out what it is that causes it and what it is that could cure it once and for all.
Most researchers agree that genetics play an important factor and that the genes dealing with the immune system are among those which are most responsible with the development of this autoimmune disease. Yet, environmental factors such as smoking, going through very stressful periods of time, certain infections, certain types of medication and various other things can contribute a lot to whether or not a person will develop lupus.
Is There Any Cure for It?
As mentioned before, there is no cure for lupus and patients diagnosed with this disease should make sure that they manage it throughout their entire lifetime. There are various forms of treatment available, but most of them are meant to treat separate symptoms only, which means that the cause of those symptoms is not eradicated.
For instance, immunodepressants are commonly prescribed to patients with lupus and so are types of drugs meant to help them with the other symptoms (pain, arthritis and so on). Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration in the United States has approved one type of drug created especially for treating lupus.
Other than that, the medical professionals will simply try to avoid the complications by as much as possible and they will not be able to do much else. When faced with one such complication, they will have to do anything to try to relieve the patient from its effects, but there is no cure in the proper sense of the word to be administered.
Lupus: A Disease That Does not Forget or Forgive
Lupus does not discriminate according to social status or fame. There are many celebrities who suffer or suffered with lupus for their entire life and life in the public was made even harder for them precisely because of this reason. Michael Jackson is one of the famous people who was diagnosed with this disease in 1986 and one of the famous people believed to have died as a result of his lupus. Everything he went through in the last decades of his life can be attributed to lupus and it does make perfect sense. The white skin is due to his vitiligo condition as well, his weight loss, his change of behavior and the other things that attracted the media’s attention can all be put on the shoulders of lupus.
If you show lupus symptoms, present yourself to your doctor’s office as soon as possible. This is not a disease to “postpone” in any way and it is of the highest importance that you receive the treatment you need!