David, 24 found out that his father has lupus. In his curiosity to know whether it could happen to him as well, he consulted as many doctors he knew.
One more question that arises in one’s mind is that is lupus heredity, what are its risk factors, what are its types, its signs and symptoms. What is the relation between lupus and alopecia? Why is dialysis performed in some patients with lupus? What is Raynaud’s phenomenon? What are the various criteria for lupus diagnosis? These and many more such questions are haunting several people around the globe.
To start with let us discuss what actually lupus is. Lupus can be recognized as the chronic inflammation of various tissues of the body caused because of autoimmune disease. People suffering from lupus produce abnormal antibodies that attack its own body tissues. That is the reason why lupus can cause a variety of diseases affecting heart, lungs, skin, kidneys, joints, and or nervous system. Disease affecting skin is known as discoid lupus whereas the disease affecting the internal organs is called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Now, pointing towards the causes of lupus, emphasis should be laid on the fact that absolute cause of this disease is yet unknown. Well there exist several assumptions and beliefs. To name a few inherited genes, viruses, ultra violet radiations are supposed to play some role in the development of lupus. Female hormones are vital in its development. Further, some researches prove that SLE may be initiated by mutation in genes causing disposal activities.
Alopecia is caused by the usually red, painless discoid lupus rashes. About 10 out of 100 of the patients with discoid lupus may develop SLE. The butterfly rash is a typical sign that suggests SLE. Well Raynaud’s phenomenon is the poor circulation of the fingers and toes due to cold exposure. In SLE patients the risk of infection is elevated because of the decrease in the amount of white blood cells. Dialysis is necessary to perform in SLE patients suffering from kidney inflammation that causes proteinuria, fluid retention and sometimes kidney failure.
Four or more of the following signs suggests SLE. Butterfly rash, discoid rash, photosensitivity, mucus membrane ulcers, arthritis, pleuritis or pericarditis , casts in urine, brain irritation, abnormal blood count, immunological disorder and antinuclear antibody. SLE patients are treated with NSAIDS like aspirin and ibuprofen. Corticosteroids are also effective and more potent than NSAIDS.