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Lupus Basics

Have you just learned you have Lupus? In the process of getting diagnosed?

Here are some really basic facts about Lupus to keep in mind ...

Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a complex disease that can affect multiple organs and systems in the body, including the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, and heart. Lupus occurs when the immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues, causing inflammation and damage.

What Causes Lupus?

The exact cause of lupus is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors. Some research suggests that viral infections, stress, and exposure to ultraviolet light may trigger lupus in people who are genetically predisposed to the disease.

Symptoms of Lupus

The symptoms of lupus can vary widely depending on the individual and the organs affected. Some common symptoms include fatigue, fever, joint pain and stiffness, skin rashes, hair loss, and chest pain. Lupus can also cause more serious complications such as kidney damage, neurological problems, and blood clotting disorders.

Diagnosing Lupus

Diagnosing lupus can be a complex process as there is no definitive test for the disease. Doctors typically use a combination of physical exams, medical history, blood tests, and imaging studies to diagnose lupus. The American College of Rheumatology has established 11 criteria for diagnosing lupus, including malar rash (a butterfly-shaped rash on the face), photosensitivity, oral ulcers, arthritis, and kidney disease.

Treating Lupus

There is no known cure for lupus, but you can be successful in getting your Lupus into remission. Treatments can help manage symptoms and prevent complications. Treatment plans are highly individualized and may include a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and alternative therapies. Some common medications used to treat lupus include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and antimalarials.

In addition to medications, lifestyle changes make a huge difference in managing symptoms of lupus. Avoid sun exposure, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and manage stress. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, and meditation may also be helpful for some patients.

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In conclusion, lupus is a complex autoimmune disease that can affect multiple organs and systems in the body. Diagnosis can be challenging, but with the right medical care, you can manage your symptoms and lead healthy, fun, full lives. If you are experiencing symptoms of lupus, it is important to seek medical attention to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.



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