Lupus is an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissue and organs. As a result of this systemic condition, patients are known to experience inflammation throughout most of the body – including the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, joints, skin and even within the blood cells.
Because the symptoms of lupus are fairly common to that of other conditions, it is very difficult to identify. Doctors will look out for the most distinctive characteristic, which is a large facial rash, with “wings” that cover the nose and extend out to either side of the cheeks – present in MOST, but not all cases of lupus.
Those who suffer from lupus are generally born with the likelihood of developing the disease and it is then triggered later on in life.
Lupus cases differ from patient to patient and symptoms can come on suddenly or over time and range from mild to severe. Those with moderate cases of lupus will experience bouts of heightened symptoms known as “flares,” followed by no symptoms at all. However, the most common symptoms include:
- Joint pains, or stiffness
- The facial rash described above
- Mouth ulcers
- Sun distributed rashes, or light/sun sensitivity
- General heart or lung issues
- Headaches, memory loss & confusion
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, that is mainly developed through genetics and environmental triggers. While the main cause of lupus is unknown, it does have a genetic or inherited component. Where people have a predisposition for the disease from their family.
Certain individuals are more susceptible than others. Risk factors for lupus include:
- Age – Most common between the ages of 15-45 but can happen at any age.
- Gender – Most prevalent in women.
- Race – Lupus is more common in African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans than any other race of people.
When it comes to lupus, doctors can help patients manage and better control their condition – improving upon their quality of life and standard of living. The treatment of lupus is a team effort as it can involve multiple organ systems. The key is treat early and get an early diagnosis before permanent damage occurs. For early diagnosis, dermatologists, like Dr. Lodha play a key role, as often times rashes are the first manifestations of the illness.
For more information on lupus or to schedule a consultation, contact Pura Dermatology today.