What is lupus?
What is LUPUS?
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus) is a presently incurable illness of the immune system, a condition in which the body’s defence mechanism begins to attack itself through an excess of antibodies in the blood stream causing inflammation and damage in the joints, muscles and other organs.
Lupus may be triggered by various means and can present in a bewildering number of ways, even to the extent of mimicking other illnesses such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Multiple Sclerosis. The cause of lupus is not known although research has provided evidence implicating heredity, hormones and infections including viruses.
The majority of lupus patients are young women aged 16-55 but men and even young children can be affected. It is estimated that 1 in 750 women suffer from lupus in the UK with the ratio of women to men being 9:1. Lupus is a worldwide disease more common in some races than others. The incidence in white women is 1 in 1000 compared with that in black women of 1 in 250. Asian races also have a high incidence, 1 in 500 of Lupus. Only 10% of lupus patients are male. With its many symptoms, lupus can often be overlooked by a GP or consultant which may delay final diagnosis and a vital start to necessary treatment which can contain the disease and limit potential damage to the kidneys, heart, lungs or brain.
Those diagnosed usually remain in medical care and receive ongoing treatment. Many symptoms will have less impact but there may be side effects from the drug treatments. Lupus can adversely affect the lives of sufferers and their families and influence relationships with friends and business colleagues.
Discoid Lupus is usually a condition of the skin alone although the joints can also often be affected. Very few patients may go on to develop Systemic Lupus.
LUPUS IS NEITHER CONTAGIOUS NOR INFECTIOUS
• Joint/muscle aches and pains
• Permanent rash over cheeks
• Extreme fatigue and weakness
• Increased risk of miscarriage
• Rashes from sunlight/UV light
• Flu-like symptoms and/or night sweats
• Weight gain or loss
• Inflammation of the tissues covering internal organs with
associated chest and/or abdominal pain
• Seizures, mental illness or other cerebral problems
• Headaches, migraine
• Kidney problems
• Oral/nasal ulcers
• Hair loss
• Haematological disorders including anaemia
• Swollen glands
• Poor blood circulation causing the tips of fingers and
toes to turn white then blue on exposure to cold (Raynauds)
THE TWO MAJOR SYMPTOMS
OF LUPUS APPEAR TO BE:
1.) EXTREME FATIGUE AND WEAKNESS
2.) JOINT/MUSCLE ACHES AND PAINS