Welcome to the first Colors of Lupus Nevada blog post! We hope to be able to use this platform to provide education and resources on all things lupus.
To start us off, we’re going to go over what lupus is, the different types of lupus, and the challenges individuals face while living with this condition.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is a complex chronic autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Lupus impacts the immune system, which is meant to protect you from illnesses, and causes your immune system to turn against your own body tissues and organs. This attack leads to inflammation and can affect various parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. This causes a wide variety of symptoms, but common ones include joint pain, skin rashes, fatigue, and organ damage.
We don’t really know what causes lupus, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, it seems to be more prevalent in women and typically appears between the ages of 15 and 44.
Though there is no cure for lupus yet, medical treatments and lifestyle adjustments can help manage the symptoms and improve the overall well-being of those affected. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms, prevent, limit, and stop flares, maintain the lowest level of disease activity, and improve overall quality of life.
Types of Lupus:
There are four main types of lupus, each with its distinct characteristics and effects on the body:
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE):
This is the most common and most serious type of lupus. It varies in severity from person to person, but it can affect all parts of the body
Diagnosis: There is no one test for SLE. Doctors usually diagnose SLE based on your medical history, physical exam, and laboratory tests.
Treatment: This can include medication, alternative and complementary therapies, and lifestyle changes as recommended by your doctor to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
Cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE):
This type of lupus primarily affects the skin, leading to issues such as sensitivity to sunlight, skin rashes, and hair loss.
Diagnosis: Doctors usually use a physical examination and a skin biopsy to diagnose CLE
Treatment: can involve antimalarial drugs, topical steroids, or steroid injections directly into rash lesions.
Certain medications can cause drug-induced lupus, which is usually a short-term form of the condition.
Diagnosis: Doctors usually diagnose based on your medical history, physical exam, and laboratory tests.
Treatment: Drug-induced lupus usually goes away once the person stops taking the medication that caused it. Sometimes medications are prescribed to help manage symptoms.
Neonatal lupus is rare and occurs in newborn babies whose mothers have lupus or other autoimmune diseases.
Diagnosis: Doctors usually diagnose based on medical history, physical exam, and laboratory tests.
Treatment: Neonatal lupus usually goes away on its own after a few months. Sometimes medications are prescribed to help manage symptoms.
It is important to note that lupus is a chronic disease, and there is no cure at present. However, treatments have improved dramatically, giving doctors more choices to manage the disease.
Challenges of Living with Lupus:
Whether you or your loved one are living with lupus, it is important to be aware of the challenges of living with the disease:
Physical symptoms: Lupus can cause a wide range of physical symptoms, from joint pain and fatigue to skin issues and organ damage. These symptoms can make everyday tasks difficult and impact overall well-being.
Mental health issues: Lupus can also lead to mental health challenges like anxiety and depression. Managing these issues is crucial for maintaining a positive outlook and quality of life.
Comorbidities: People with lupus are at a higher risk of developing other health conditions, such as obesity and diabetes. Managing these additional conditions can be challenging and may require extra attention and care.
Lack of understanding: Since lupus symptoms may not always be visible, it can be challenging for others to understand the extent of the challenges faced by individuals with lupus. This lack of understanding may lead to feelings of isolation and frustration.
Diagnosis and treatment: Receiving a proper lupus diagnosis can be difficult and may take time. This delay can be frustrating and may postpone necessary treatments. Additionally, finding the right treatment plan for lupus can be complex, and some treatments may cause side effects that need careful management.
It is important to note that everyone's experience with lupus is different, and individuals may face different challenges depending on their symptoms and circumstances. However, with proper medical care and support, many people with lupus are able to manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.
Living with lupus comes with its unique set of challenges, but with the right medical care, support, and lifestyle adjustments, individuals with lupus can lead fulfilling lives. Ongoing research and medical advancements offer hope for better management and future treatment options. If you or someone you know is living with lupus, remember that you are not alone, and reaching out for support and education can make a significant difference in managing this condition successfully. Together, we can raise awareness and foster a more understanding and compassionate community for those affected by lupus.
by: Laura Jaramillo
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