Lupus is among the many disorders of the immune system. The term lupus does not only refer to one kind of disease, but a series of symptoms caused by abnormalities with the body’s immune system. Another term for lupus is systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE, which is the most serious type of lupus with highest incidence rate. Systemic in SLE means affecting the entire body or internal system.

The human immune system is the defensive system in which immune cells are programmed to attack foreign bodies like microbes, and destroy harmful substances like poisons and toxins. In the case of lupus as an autoimmune disease, the normal tasks of protection by the immune system are altered. In easy terms, lupus erythematosus develops when the body becomes allergic to itself. Instead of protecting healthy cells, the immune system destroys healthy and normal body cells, such as in the brain, kidneys, lungs, and blood vessels, among others. Immunologically speaking, it is the opposite of that takes place in cancer or AIDS. In lupus, the body exaggerates to an unknown motivation and makes too many antibodies, or proteins directed against body tissue. As a result, there is massive deterioration and malfunctioning of many organ systems. Thus, lupus is called self immune disease. There is inflammation or swelling of many tissues, which can cause pain, and many other symptoms.

Comparing men and women, it is the women who are more likely to be diagnosed with lupus, possibly due to hormonal conditions. The patients who are diagnosed with lupus are usually between 15 and 45 years of age.

While systemic lupus is the most common form of the disease, ten percent of lupus patients suffer from drug-induced lupus. Usually it is not as severe as systemic lupus, and it often goes away when the person stops taking the offending drug.

Over seventy drugs have been implicating in causing drug-induced lupus, yet there are three major offenders – hydralazine, procainamide, and methyldopa. If isoniazid, chlorpromazine, and D-penicillamine are added to the top three drug-induced lupus causing medications, it accounts for ninety nine percent of all medications that can bring upon discoid lupus symptoms.

Discoid lupus has a much longer official name, “chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus”. Approximately ten percent of lupus patients are diagnosed with discoid lupus, which effects only skin that is exposed to sunlight. Most often it is diagnosed when the person comes up with a lupus rash, but does not fulfill the requirements for systemic lupus.

While discoid lupus rashes can look similar to rosacea, fungal infections, sarcoidosis, and more, skin biopsy will tell the difference. It is important for people with discoid lupus to seek treatment early, as the lesions can progress causing scarring and, in some cases, skin cancer. Most discoid lupus is treated by using sunscreen, antimalarials, and steroid creams. Generalized discoid lupus only has a ten percent chance of turning into systemic lupus, while localized discoid lupus rarely becomes systemic lupus.

Neonatal lupus is believed that neonatal lupus is caused through transference of lupus cells via the placenta.

The auto antibodies settle into the baby’s heart and skin. Antibodies settle in the heart tissue, there is an increased risk for myocardial dysfunction or congenital heart block. However, the risk of neonatal congenital heart block in lupus babies is only one to two percent of mothers with systemic lupus. The risk is much greater for cetaceous lupus to develop.

Systemic lupus is diagnosed by using specific criteria determined by the American College of Rheumatology. Despite the fact that the criteria are outlined, it can actually take a long time to diagnose. While some tests help in the diagnosis, there is no one definitive test for systemic lupus.

Systemic lupus can appear on the skin, as can be seen by the first four criteria. It causes major damage to the internal organs. While antibody test tells a physician that there is a potential autoimmune disease, it does not give a definitive lupus diagnosis alone.

There are other signs too that indicate the possibility of having this condition, and may also refer to other underlying illnesses. There is pain in the joints, which sometimes moves from one area to another. The legs and feet may be swollen due to the joint pain. The skin may be reddish or swelling in some parts of the body. These areas with redness can change to rashes, which can cover the scalp, face, arms, and chest. The patient may have a sudden loss of weight, lack of appetite, constant fatigue, and very low levels of energy. Aside from those, a patient who has lupus has very frequent headaches and heightened sensitivity to sunlight or bright light. He may also experience chest pains and sudden hair loss in the scalp.

Other physiological changes can be found, which doctors used to further diagnose if the condition is lupus or not. The kidneys may be affected, and they can lose their function. Not only, red blood cell count, platelet count, and white blood cell count may decrease to levels that are lower than normal. A person with lupus might have other nervous system disorders, such as psychosis or seizures.

There are pain relief drugs that are used to alleviate the suffering from the joint and muscular aches associated with the degeneration of cartilage and other tissues. There are also prescribed drugs that reduce the swelling associated with lupus.

Diseases Related To Lupus

Diseases related to lupus are Hughes Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Jorgen’s Syndrome, and Raynaud’s Phenomena.

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