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Lupus Erythematosus – Complications and care

About


Lupus erythematosus is a chronic, autoimmune disorder causing inflammation in connective tissues (e.g., cartilage and lining of blood vessels).


Women are more likely to develop lupus.
Lupus Erythematosus is more common in people of color than Caucasians.
Lupus can be genetic with relatives having a 5% - 13% chance of developing lupus. [1]


- The inheritance pattern in lupus erythematosus is unknown.
- Can involve many organs and systems, including the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, central nervous system, and blood-forming (hematopoietic) system.
- Characterized by flat red rash across the cheeks and bridge of the nose.
- Characterized by inflammation of the kidneys/nervous system/blood vessels of the brain, hardening of arteries or coronary artery disease
- Also known as disseminated lupus erythematosus, LE syndrome, Libman-Sacks disease, etc.


Systemic Lupus erythematosus (SLE) may first appear as extreme tiredness (fatigue), a vague feeling of discomfort or illness (malaise), fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Most affected may also feel joint pain, muscle pain, and weakness. Skin problems are common in SLE such as calcium deposits under the skin (calcinosis), damaged blood vessels (vasculitis) in the skin, and tiny red spots called petechiae (bleeding under the skin). Symptoms gradually worsen over time, damaging major organs.


Ages affected
Onset mostly observed in the 15-44 age group. Symptoms of lupus will occur only in 15 percent of people before the age of 18.


Symptoms


Self-diagnosable
- Hair loss, open sores (ulcerations) in the moist lining of the mouth, nose or the genitals
- Fever, pain, stiffness, fatigue, and swelling in the joints
- Appearance of butterfly-shaped rash on the face spread across the cheeks and the bridge of the nose
- Mental disorientation
- Skin lesions
- Fingers and toes which turn blue or white upon exposure to cold or stress (Raynaud's phenomenon)
- Dry eyes
- Breathlessness
- pain in the chest
- Headaches


Other diagnostic symptoms are:
Seizures, stroke, cognitive impairment
Anxiety and depression


Lupus Erythematosus is diagnosed by Complete blood count (CBC), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), blood tests to assess liver and kidneys, urinalysis, antinuclear antibody (ANA) test, chest x-ray, echocardiogram, and biopsy.


Treatment


Self-care
Getting adequate rest
Always wear a sunscreen/protective gear
Healthy diet
Quitting smoking
Regular exercise


Medication
NSAIDs, antimalarial medicines, corticosteroids, immunosuppressants are usually prescribed.


Specialists
Patients may meet a rheumatologist, allergist or immunologist. mfine features a fine line-up of specialists for you to take guidance from

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