Classic Butterfly Rash

Yet many people do not know what lupus is and how serious it can be.  Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys, and brain.  Normally the body's immune system makes proteins called antibodies that protect the body against viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders. These foreign invaders are called antigens.

In an autoimmune disorder like lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then makes antibodies that, simply put, attack the body itself. This causes inflammation, pain and damage to various organs.

Inflammation is considered the primary feature of lupus. Inflammation causes pain, heat, redness, swelling and loss of function, inside and/or outside the body.   For many people, lupus can be a manageable disease with relatively mild symptoms. For others, it may cause serious and even life-threatening problems.

Sometimes people with lupus experience a "flare." This occurs when some symptoms appear or get worse for short periods then disappear or get better. Even if you take medicine for lupus, you may find that there are times when the symptoms become worse. Learning to recognize that a flare is coming can help you take steps to cope with it. Many people feel very tired or have pain, a rash, a fever, stomach discomfort, headache, or dizziness just before a flare.  It is not infectious, rare or cancerous.

It’s estimated that more than 16,000 Americans develop lupus each year.  We do not know the cause, but scientists believe some people are predisposed to the disease.  In the United States, lupus is more common among African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans than Caucasians.

Symptoms of lupus include:

  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Fever greater that 100∘F
  • Prolonged or extreme fatigue
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Kidney problems
  • Chest pain, especially when breathing deeply
  • Rashes especially on the face
  • Light sensitivity
  • Hair loss
  • Abnormal blood clotting
  • Eye problems (dry eyes, inflammation, rashes0
  • Seizures
  • Mouth or nose ulcers

To learn more about lupus visit:  Could I have Lupus. If you want to test your knowledge on lupus, take this QUIZ.

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Comments

Sharon, nice article. Lupus is something that the Asian community just doesn't discuss. The most important thing is to increase the awareness so that this disease can be diagnosed quickly.

Lupus is one of the worst diseases imaginable as far as I'm concerned. I've watched my sister, who has Lupus, suffer day to day, hour to hour, everyday. With so many research dollars going to fight cancer, why can't we use a small percentage of that to battle Lupus? Because so few people know what Lupus is, that's what I think. And that's a real shame.

I have read your report on Lupus and how it affects more women that men. I know two women who have Lupus, one is my sister-in-law. She was diagnosed several years ago and still has other problems with it. A shock to us was that she was told that medicine she was given to fight infection was the cause of her getting Lupus as a side effect. How true that is we are not sure, however, it leaves one to wonder. Infection can be treated in many different ways, including natural and holistic methods. If only we knew then for her sake.

Sharon, This is a very informative article. A family member of mine was having some of the symptoms you described in this article. The doctors did a number of tests, of which one was for lupus. Thankfully it was negative and the diagnosis was fibromalgia. The symptoms you have listed, I imagine all of us have had from time to time. If they occur on a regular basis we should seek medical health immediately for the correct diagnosis. Our skin, being a vital organ, is just as important as all our organs.

very terrible when it happens to me. This article is very helpful .. thank you

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