When we speak of lupus disease we are referring to a group of medical conditions presenting different manifestations of a common underlying condition that is lupus. In order of their frequency lupus disease may be listed as:
- Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus. This is where, at least for the moment, the manifestations of lupus disease are confined to the skin. There are several forms of cutaneous lupus the commonest being Discoid rash and the facial butterfly or malar rash. Of the two discoid is the nastiest and has the capacity to become erosive causing scaring and damage to underlying structures. About 10% of sufferers of Cutaneous Lupus will go on to develop the systemic form of lupus disease.
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE. This is the form of lupus disease where the autoimmune activity may affect many organs including the kidneys, heart, lungs and central nervous system.
Some facts about Lupus Disease:
- Women are ten times more likely to develop lupus disease than are men.
- Lupus disease may be triggered my certain medications.
- African Americans and Oriental people are six times more likely to develop lupus disease then are corcasions.
- Sufferers of lupus disease must never expose themselves to the sun because it only makes things worse.
- Steroids and immunosuppressants are the mainstay of therapy which needs to be overseen by doctors who specialise in the management of Lupus Disease.
Here are some of the salient lupus disease symptoms:
- Onset may be simply fatigue, malaise and fever. Or in other words onset is very non-specific.
- Joint pains, stiffness and swelling chiefly in hands and feet.
- Classic butterfly shaped rash across the face covering cheeks and bridge of nose. In a way you might be lucky to have this because it makes lupus diagnosis obvious.
- Various sun sensitive skin lesions.
- Fingers and toes turning white and numb when exposed to cold. This is Raynaud’s phenomenon and of course you can have this without it being among lupus symptoms
- Shortness of breath and chest pains.
- Dry eyes.
- Headaches, confusion and memory loss.
- Symptoms tend to wax and wane. Lupus disease is commoner in women than in men and first symptoms appear between the age of 15 and 40.
- To make matters even more difficult there is no definitive blood test or histology test to prove that you have got lupus disease. Diagnosis is made by considering lupus in the first place and then by ruling out other possible diseases that could cause your symptoms.
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