Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Diagnosis, Signs And Symptoms

Are you or someone you know living with Lupus? Lupus is not a bias disease, although women are at higher risk for becoming affected with the disease. Anyone from infancy to an older adult can be affected with Lupus, but this does not mean that the victim will begin to experience symptoms immediately and if they do, the symptoms can masque themselves, as being related to other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. This will make the diagnosis of the disease, in the early stages, very difficult.

 

Autoimmune Disease

 

Lupus is one of eighty autoimmune diseases that has affected over 1.5 million Americans (lupus.org). The characteristics of an autoimmune disease is when the immune system abnormally attacks and destroys normal, healthy body tissues and organs. The reason for this abnormal response is still unknown. The immune system is overactive in this case, which is unlike AIDS, where the immune system is under active. These two diseases are not related, or even alike for that matter.

Etiology

 

Lupus is caused by a range of factors including genetics, hormones, and environment. Individuals that have a family history of Lupus or other autoimmune diseases are more likely to become affected, at some point in their life. Sex hormones have also been linked to the disease. Some women of childbearing age will experience a Lupus flare, this is more common, during pregnancy and the postpartum period. The female, sex hormone, estrogen is immunoenhancing, which is why women have a stronger immune system than men. The female’s body will produce and utilize more of the sex hormone and this is why they are at higher risk. Environmental factors including:

 

– Smoking

– Excessive Exposure To Ultraviolet Light (Not Identified As A Direct Cause)

– Stress (Not Identified As A Direct Cause)

– Herpes Zoster Virus (Shingles)

– Mercury & Silica

– Epstein Barr Virus

 

Exposure to UV light, stress, and anti-epileptics are not direct causes of the disease, but can cause Lupus flares.

Remission Period & Flares

 

During the remission period one will not experience any signs and symptoms of Lupus. Some medical experts prefer to call, this period, quiescence, because of the recurring episodes, where symptoms are present, which is known as flares.

Flares are classified as mild, moderate, severe, and temporary or permanent. Not everyone with Lupus will present with all symptoms of the disease. Some of the symptoms will appear gradually, while others will appear suddenly.

A butterfly rash is very common and is a very mild symptom, which will appear on the cheeks and bridge of the nose.

Musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and arthralgia (joint tenderness) are not characterized as a flare, because they can potentially occur on a daily basis. Low grade fever, usually no higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, is an often warning of an upcoming Lupus Flare.

Weight loss is also very common in people, with Lupus, but it is often related to medication side effects. Weight gain is pretty much the same, because it is often related to corticosteroids.

A chronic, autoimmune condition, Sjogren’s syndrome, which affects the lacrimal glands (produces tears) and the parotid glands, can cause dry eyes (gritty sensation), dry oral mucosa (mouth), and dry vagina. Not everyone with Lupus will be affected with Sjogren’s.

Other symptoms include GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and peptic ulcers, which is most likely related to NSAIDs and corticosteroids. Autoimmune thyroid disease including both hyperthyroidism (overactive) and hypothyroidism (underactive). Osteoporosis a disease that affects the bones, which over time will cause brittleness and weakness to occur, which makes an individual high risk for injuries. Post-menopausal women are at higher risk for getting osteoporosis than other individuals.

There are some warning signs of Lupus that should be followed up by your primary care physician.

 

– Alopecia (hair loss)

– Headaches

– Malaise

– Fevers Over 101 Degrees Fahrenheit

– Vertigo (lightheadedness)

– Lupus Triggers

– Pregnancy

– Communicable Diseases (Cold, Flu)

– Infections

– Beginning & Ending Drug (Medication) Treatments

– Photosensitivity To Sunlight

 

Diagnosis

 
– CBC &

– 24-Hr Urine Protein Test (Proteinuria)

– Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (Blood Test, Detects Inflammation Caused By Autoimmune

Diseases)

– Creatinine Blood Test (Measure Kidney Function)

– Liver Function Tests (LFTs and LFs)

– AntiNuclear Antibody Test (ANA, Used To Evaluate Autoimmune Disorders)

Treatments

There is no cure for Lupus, but many medications can be used to alleviate the symptoms of the disease. Other medications may be prescribed to alleviate the side effects of these Lupus drugs.

– Corticosteroids (Reduces Inflammatory Symptoms)

– Zantac or Tagamet

– Aspirin (Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic)

– Tylenol (Analgesic)

– NSAIDs or Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatories (Motrin, Naprosyn, Relafen)

– Antimalarials (Rashes, Aphthous Ulcers or Mouth Ulcers)

– Immunosuppressives (Immune Modulators, Most Often Only Used, When Corticosteroids Are

Ineffective In Reducing Lupus Symptoms)

– Methotrexate

– Cytoxan (Can Potentially Improve Kidney and Lung Disease)

In The News

 

Mannan M. Mehta and Navdeep S. Chandel, both fr
Are you or someone you know living with Lupus? Lupus is not a bias disease, although women are at higher risk for becoming affected with the disease. Anyone from infancy to an older adult can be affected with Lupus, but this does not mean that the victim will begin to experience symptoms immediately and if they do, the symptoms can masque themselves, as being related to other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. This will make the diagnosis of the disease, in the early stages, very difficult.

Autoimmune Disease

 

Lupus is one of eighty autoimmune diseases that has affected over 1.5 million Americans (lupus.org). The characteristics of an autoimmune disease is when the immune system abnormally attacks and destroys normal, healthy body tissues and organs. The reason for this abnormal response is still unknown. The immune system is overactive in this case, which is unlike AIDS, where the immune system is under active. These two diseases are not related, or even alike for that matter.

Etiology

 

Lupus is caused by a range of factors including genetics, hormones, and environment. Individuals that have a family history of Lupus or other autoimmune diseases are more likely to become affected, at some point in their life. Sex hormones have also been linked to the disease. Some women of childbearing age will experience a Lupus flare, this is more common, during pregnancy and the postpartum period. The female, sex hormone, estrogen is immunoenhancing, which is why women have a stronger immune system than men. The female’s body will produce and utilize more of the sex hormone and this is why they are at higher risk. Environmental factors including;
– Smoking

– Excessive Exposure To Ultraviolet Light (Not Identified As A Direct Cause)

– Stress (Not Identified As A Direct Cause)

– Herpes Zoster Virus (Shingles)

– Mercury & Silica

– Epstein Barr Virus
Exposure to UV light, stress, and anti-epileptics are not direct causes of the disease, but can cause Lupus flares.

Remission Period & Flares

During the remission period one will not experience any signs and symptoms of Lupus. Some medical experts prefer to call, this period, quiescence, because of the recurring episodes, where symptoms are present, which is known as flares.

Flares are classified as mild, moderate, severe, and temporary or permanent. Not everyone with Lupus will present with all symptoms of the disease. Some of the symptoms will appear gradually, while others will appear suddenly.

A butterfly rash is very common and is a very mild symptom, which will appear on the cheeks and bridge of the nose.

Musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and arthralgia (joint tenderness) are not characterised as a flare, because they can potentially occur on a daily basis. Low grade fever, usually no higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, is an often warning of an upcoming Lupus Flare.

Weight loss is also very common in people, with Lupus, but it is often related to medication side effects. Weight gain is pretty much the same, because it is often related to corticosteroids.

A chronic, autoimmune condition, Sjögren’s syndrome, which affects the lacrimal glands (produces tears) and the parotid glands, can cause dry eyes (gritty sensation), dry oral mucosa (mouth), and dry vagina. Not everyone with Lupus will be affected with Sjogren’s.

Other symptoms include GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and peptic ulcers, which is most likely related to NSAIDs and corticosteroids. Autoimmune thyroid disease including both hyperthyroidism (overactive) and hypothyroidism (underactive). Osteoporosis a disease that affects the bones, which over time will cause brittleness and weakness to occur, which makes an individual high risk for injuries. Post-menopausal women are at higher risk for getting osteoporosis than other individuals.

There are some warning signs of Lupus that should be followed up by your primary care physician.

– Alopecia (hair loss)

– Headaches

– Malaise

– Fevers Over 101 Degrees Fahrenheit

– Vertigo (lightheadedness)

Lupus Triggers

– Pregnancy

– Communicable Diseases (Cold, Flu)

– Infections

– Beginning & Ending Drug (Medication) Treatments

– Photosensitivity To Sunlight

Diagnosis

– CBC &

– 24-Hr Urine Protein Test (Proteinuria)

– Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (Blood Test, Detects Inflammation Caused By Autoimmune

Diseases)

– Creatinine Blood Test (Measure Kidney Function)

– Liver Function Tests (LFTs and LFs)

– AntiNuclear Antibody Test (ANA, Used To Evaluate Autoimmune Disorders)

Treatments

There is no cure for Lupus, but many medications can be used to alleviate the symptoms of the disease. Other medications may be prescribed to alleviate the side effects of these Lupus drugs.

– Corticosteroids (Reduces Inflammatory Symptoms)

– Zantac or Tagamet

– Aspirin (Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic)

– Tylenol (Analgesic)

– NSAIDs or Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatories (Motrin, Naprosyn, Relafen)

– Antimalarials (Rashes, Aphthous Ulcers or Mouth Ulcers)

– Immunosuppressives (Immune Modulators, Most Often Only Used, When Corticosteroids Are

Ineffective In Reducing Lupus Symptoms)

– Methotrexate

– Cytoxan (Can Potentially Improve Kidney and Lung Disease)

In The News

 

Mannan M. Mehta and Navdeep S. Chandel, both from the Northwestern University, now think that a combination of metabolic inhibitors can be an effective Lupus therapy.om the Northwestern University, now think that a combination of metabolic inhibitors can be an effective Lupus therapy.