The use of cosmetics or frequent sunbathing may cause irritation. Discoloration of the skin and small spots sometimes do not cause us any anxiety. Unfortunately, the deterioration of the skin condition may indicate a serious disease. The appearance of redness on the skin may indicate a malfunctioning of the immune system. The so-called erythema is a characteristic symptom of lupus. An autoimmune disease can damage many organs. Therefore, skin lesions require specialist treatment. What symptoms can lupus develop and how is it treated?
Lupus – what is it?
We have already mentioned that lupus is an autoimmune disease. This means that the patient’s immune system directs its actions against its own tissues. Many organs can be damaged in people with lupus. In extreme cases, patients deal with kidney, heart and even brain disorders. People struggling with a severe course of the disease are faced with a potential life threat. When lupus attacks organs, patients must start treatment as soon as possible.
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Autoimmune diseases affect women and men of all ages. Lupus is most often diagnosed in adults. The disease can take several forms. It has been noted that the most common type of the disease is systemic lupus erythematosus (another name for the disease is visceral lupus). Forms such as drug-induced lupus or subacute cutaneous lupus are much less frequently diagnosed. Scientists have noticed that women are more likely to deal with the disease than men. In most cases, lupus is mild. However, regardless of the intensity of the symptoms, the disease should be treated.
Systemic lupus – causes of the disease
Autoimmune diseases can sometimes be inherited. However, there are many more reasons for the impaired functioning of the immune system. So far, it has not been possible to determine what causes lupus. The factors that can lead to the manifestation of the disease include frequent spending of time in the sun, taking antibiotics or other strong pharmaceuticals, stress, improper diet or addictions. People who are genetically burdened should avoid nervous situations, accidental infections and sunbathing. Otherwise, there is a high probability that they will trigger the disease in the future.
Systemic lupus – symptoms of the disease
Systemic lupus erythematosus is very rare. However, people with a genetic predisposition must take into account an increased risk of developing the disease. How is the disease manifested? Lupus causes a number of changes throughout the body. People struggling with the condition may experience a variety of symptoms. The symptoms of the disease can be divided into characteristic, that is, those that occur only in lupus, or non-specific.
Lupus – characteristic symptoms
As we have already noted, the most commonly diagnosed type of lupus is systemic lupus erythematosus. As the name suggests, it attacks many systems. People struggling with the disease may have problems not only with the skin, but also with the heart, kidneys and joints. One of the most characteristic symptoms of lupus is called erythema. The reddening of the face often takes the shape of a butterfly, the wings of which are located on the cheeks and the body on the nose. Sometimes the changes look like small discs, which indicates a different form of the disease. The so-called discoid lupus erythematosus manifests itself not only on the face, but also on the head and neck. Disk erythema may be slightly convex. Unfortunately, disease-induced changes often leave unsightly scars. Mouth ulcers are also a common symptom of lupus. The changes are painless. Sometimes, however, they appear in the throat and inside the nose, causing breathing discomfort. People struggling with lupus may become photosensitive to light. Both sunny and artificial. In many cases, spending time in the sun will increase the residual symptoms of the disease. Persistent proteinuria may also indicate lupus.
Lupus – nonspecific symptoms
Specific to autoimmune diseases is that they cause a series of seemingly unrelated symptoms. People with lupus can deal with a variety of ailments. Most of them are related to tissue or organ damage. Symptoms that may occur when the disease is triggered include:
- stiffness and swelling
- shortness of breath,
- other mental disorders,
- pain in the chest,
- vision problems
- trouble with memory.
Lupus – photos available on the web help to recognize the disease
Before visiting a specialist, many people would like to know where their pain, redness or other ailments came from. Some people suspect they have lupus because of a genetic burden. It is difficult to recognize the disease on your own. However, photos of changes that can be found on the web can help in this. If the redness on our face resembles the erythema that occurs in people with lupus, we should see a doctor as soon as possible. A quick diagnosis of the disease is able to protect us from the total destruction of the organism.
Cutaneous lupus – diagnosis
In lupus patients, it is not always possible to make a diagnosis right after seeing the patient. The diagnosis of the disease is usually very complicated. To confirm his suspicions, the doctor must conduct a detailed interview with the patient. Often urine and blood tests are also required. Lupus can be seen as having a reduced number of lymphocytes or a low level of hemoglobin. When the disease affects the kidneys, patients may deal with proteinuria. If the patient complains of joint and muscle pains, the doctor may also refer him to imaging tests.
Lupus – How Does It Affect Life Expectancy?
Many people, when they hear that lupus erythematosus is incurable, start to fear for their lives. Any autoimmune disease is a serious threat to the body. How does lupus affect life expectancy? The prognosis for the disease depends on many factors. People who follow the doctor’s recommendations are able to live into a peaceful old age. Life-threatening complications arise when the disease is ignored. People who avoid treatment are at risk of premature death. Especially if their lupus is severe. People struggling with an autoimmune disease must beware of any infections. Inflammation increases the risk of death.
Lupus – treatment of the disease
Although lupus cannot be completely cured, its treatment should not be abandoned. Therapy is the only way to prevent the disease from causing serious complications. Medicines prescribed to patients are designed to reduce the activity of the immune system. In the case of a severe course, patients are advised to take painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Lupus erythematosus – pharmacotherapy
How lupus treatment looks like is largely dependent on what tissues are attacked by the immune system. Ill people are sometimes recommended to take preparations supporting the functioning of the joints or the circulatory system. Treatment of lupus may include taking pharmaceuticals such as:
- NSAIDs, i.e. non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,
- antimalarial drugs,
- DMARDs, i.e. drugs that modify the course of the disease,
- drugs regulating the lipid metabolism,
- corticosteroids, also known as glucocorticosteroids,
- antidepressants (mainly tramadol).
Cutaneous lupus erythematosus – ointments and creams
When lupus attacks skin cells, you should use an ointment that will soothe the lesions. We have already mentioned that spending time in the sun can cause a number of undesirable ailments. All thanks to the influence of UV radiation. People struggling with lupus should invest in a good quality sunscreen. Applying the preparation before leaving the house allows you to protect the skin against radiation and the aggravation of the symptoms of the disease.
Lupus – Diet Matters
The way we live undoubtedly affects our health. Addictions, lack of exercise or inadequate diet sometimes lead to serious diseases. Lupus is considered to be an inherited disease. In people who are genetically burdened, the manifestation of the disease may occur as a result of leading an unbalanced lifestyle. A high-fat diet is one of the factors that accelerate the progression of the disease. Eating fatty meats and salty snacks has a negative effect on the functioning of the entire body. In the case of an increased risk of disease manifestation, it is worth giving up high-calorie dishes for the lighter ones.
Lupus – forum unites patients
People struggling with incurable diseases often need support. On internet forums you can find posts of people who broke down after being diagnosed with lupus. Knowing that you will be sick for the rest of your life is overwhelming. Coping with the condition willingly shares advice on treatment with others. Support groups undoubtedly help you get through the toughest moments. Most of the forum members point out that the most important thing is not to give up. Only regular use of pharmaceuticals is able to reduce the intensity of the symptoms of the disease.