Whats is Lupus?
Our body is the most fascinating machinery on Earth the one with its own protector, the “immune system”. The immune system is our body’s very own bodyguard which is designed to protect it from the dangerous foreign substances like bacteria and other infectious agents and microbes. But sometimes this machinery gets corrupted too and undergoes some technical failures which are known as autoimmune diseases. In an autoimmune disease, the bodyguard immune system becomes hyperactive and confuses the healthy tissues, body’s own tissues as intruders and attacks them! And “Lupus” is an autoimmune disease. When the protecting system turns against the body it is protecting it leads to inflammation or swelling and damage to various body tissues which are attacked. Therefore, lupus can affect many parts of the body, like joints, skin, etc. Sometimes, lupus can cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, or the nervous system. Lupus become trickier as the symptoms are not the same for all, people may have many different symptoms. Lupus is a disease of flare-up and remissions i.e. it’s symptoms play hide and seek and flare is when the symptoms show up, and the remission period is when they are hidden or under control.
There is not one single lupus but actually, there are several different types if lupus! The Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) are the most common forms of lupus. SLE affects the skin and other vital organs, while DLE mainly affects the skin and doesn’t typically affect the internal organs but is mostly chronic. Other forms of lupus are Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus which causes skin sores; Neonatal lupus affecting the newborns; drug-induced lupus which can be caused by certain medicines.
However, the symptoms of lupus vary from person to person and also depending on the areas of the body affected. But some of the common symptoms of lupus are: Fatigue, pain or swelling in joints, skin rashes, fevers, headaches, confusion, chest pain upon deep breathing, unusual hair loss, pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress (Raynaud’s phenomenon), swelling (edema) in a leg or around the eyes, swollen glands. These symptoms may come and go and appear differently at different times.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT LUPUS:
- Lupus is an autoimmune disease.
- It is a disease of flares and remissions.
- It is not contagious, it cannot be transmitted.
- It can be mild or serious.
- It is most likely to affect women though it’s not a necessity.
- Lupus is incurable but can be controlled with appropriate treatment.
- It is chronic.
- It can be genetically transferred.
- Lupus is also called the imitative disease because its symptoms imitate those of others’.
- It is not like cancer or HIV.
- In lupus, the immune system is hyperactive.
- There is no single laboratory test that can definitely identify lupus.