Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Lupus, the Mysterious Autoimmune Disease

Lupus is a mysterious condition with no known cure. It is an autoimmune disorder that affects more than 1.5 million people in America alone, and while its main outward symptom is psoriasis-like skin lesions and blisters, the disease can also affect your joints and organs, too. While the condition is chronic and incurable, people with the disease can still live a long and happy life with treatment.

What Is an Autoimmune Disease?

An autoimmune disease is a disease that affects your immune system. The immune system is a mysterious thing, and due to reasons we don’t always know of, sometimes it can become overactive or underactive. With Lupus, your immune system becomes overzealous, attacking tissues that are a natural part of your body in addition to foreign germs and invaders.

The Many Faces of Lupus

Lupus can come in several forms. The main type of Lupus, called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, is when your immune system attacks your skin, internal organs, and joints, damaging them and making them sore. Discoid Lupus Erythematosus is a related form of Lupus that only manifests as rashes on the skin. However, people with DLE are more likely to develop SLE over the course of their lifetime, meaning the two conditions may be related somehow. Lupus can also manifest as a rash that appears when exposed to the sun or as a side effect of certain drugs, but the symptoms tend to go away when the drug is no longer being taken. Lupus can also be passed from mother to child through a conditioned called Neonatal Lupus.

Lupus Treatment

Lupus’ many forms only make it more mysterious to us. Scientists and doctors still don’t know what exactly causes Lupus, but they suspect that it may have something to do with genetics. Currently, Lupus can be treated with lifestyle changes and medications. For example, someone who experiences severe skin lesions from Lupus might use skin lotions or medicated ointments to help control the symptoms.

The most effective treatment for Lupus is the use of immunosuppressants. Since Lupus is the result of an overactive immune system, suppressing the immune system is an excellent way to treat (but not cure) the symptoms. Lupus can also force patients to take medications for the parts of their body affected by Lupus, such as heart medicine for those who experience heart symptoms.

This is a post by Jess Walter.

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