Today, 10th of May, is the Lupus International Day. Many of us have heard about this disease in almost every House episode but, do we really know what Lupus is?
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various systems of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys.
The prevalence of Lupus is from 20 to 150 cases per 100.000 inhabitants in the general population, depending on the geographic area and the ethnic origin. It is more common in women than in men, 90% of the cases correspond to women in reproductive age. For instance, In Spain more than 40.000 people suffer from Lupus and it is estimated that 5 million people are affected all over the world.
As we mentioned in our last article about autoimmune diseases, Lupus is a type IV hypersensitivity autoimmune disease. Because many Lupus symptoms mimic other illnesses and are vague and come and go, Lupus can be difficult to diagnose. The most common symptoms are achy joints (arthralgia), fever, arthritis (swollen inflamed joints), prolonged or extreme fatigue, skin rashes and anemia.
The causes of Lupus is unknown, but there are environmental and genetic factors involved. It is known that some environmental factors play a critical role in triggering Lupus such as infections, antibiotics (especially those in the sulfa and penicillin groups), ultraviolet light, extreme stress, certain drugs, and hormones. Although Lupus is known to occur within families, there is no known gene or genes which are thought to cause the illness.
For the vast majority of people with Lupus, effective treatment can minimize symptoms, reduce inflammation, and maintain normal bodily functions, and they can expect a normal lifespan if they follow the treatment. Very few patients do die from the disease. Treatment approaches are based on the specific needs and symptoms of each person. Common medications prescribred for people with Lupus include Anti-inflammatory and Immunomodulating drugs.
Nevertheless, there is no cure for the disease yet. It is important to give Lupus the visibility it requires so as to strengthen the research focused in the progression of the treatment and diagnosis of this illness.
You cand find more information in the Lupus International web page