What is Lupus?

Do we know what Lupus is and where it comes from? Lupus is a disease that at one time made life very difficult for anyone who contracted it. But time and technology have meant a big change to the prognosis of someone suffering from any of the three most common types of lupus and their outlook is for a near normal life once diagnosis has been made and treatment begun.

The best way to describe lupus is as an ongoing infect that will attack the lungs, kidneys, skin, heart and even the blood cells. Lupus is the outcome of the immune system attacking the body instead of fighting disease. Doctors and researchers are still unable to say why this happens or why when it does it is more likely to happen to a woman. The disease gets its name from the rash that doctors claim looks like the face of a wolf.

SLE

Systemic lupus erythematosus, also known as SLE, is the most serious of the three. It is also the most common. It causes swollen joints that will become quite painful, rashes, tiredness, fevers and it can go so far as to cause damage to the kidneys. Sometimes a pregnant woman, who may show no signs of the disease, can pass it on to her unborn child.

The other types are called drug-induced lupus and discoid lupus erythematosus. Drug-induced lupus is caused by the use of certain medications. The person will suffer the symptoms of SLE but once the medication is stopped the symptoms will stop as well. This type of lupus almost never affects the kidneys and since it is relatively short term in duration the symptoms do not get as bad overall.

Discoid

Discoid lupus erythematosus shows symptoms with rashes usually coming up on the face or scalp. They can last for a matter of days or even remain for years. Once they go away they can return. Sometimes those who have suffered an attack of discoid lupus erythematosus can later develop SLE.

There are few things that health care providers are sure about with lupus. But they know that this disease can begin at any age, though more likely between fifteen and forty five, and that women are more likely to develop it than men. As well, lupus is three times as likely to occur in African American women as in Caucasian women.

Though the cases are not quite as frequent it is also more common in Hispanic, Asian and Native American women. There is also a genetic disposition to it. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure. The disease is treated with a variety drugs; specifically corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, with good results.

SLE usually goes through periods of illness and then remissions.
Research continues to work hard studying this disease and working hard to find a cure. Lupus cannot be caught from a person suffering from it. It also should not be mistaken for a type of cancer or a type of AIDS. It is a disease that affects nearly one and a half million people in the United States alone.