What is Lupus?
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or lupus as it is known is a long term condition that causes sufferers to experience inflammation in the joints as well as the skin and organs. It is an autoimmune disease which means that the body’s natural defence system attacks the healthy tissue in the body.
While it is not known what causes it, often strong medication, a viral infection or the menopause among other things can cause the condition to appear. Lupus is more common in women than men while it is more common in certain races.
Lupus can display symptoms that are very similar to that of other conditions which means that the diagnosis can take time. Your doctor is likely to carry out some blood tests which will help to identify a high level of an antibody, which when combined with the symptoms can mean that lupus is present. As lupus can affect a number of organs, it is common for patients to be sent for X-rays and scans.
Once the condition has been diagnosed, it is advised that patients are given regular checks and tests.
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Treating lupus is more about treating the symptoms individually as there is no known cure. This means that anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen might be used while drugs such as hydroxychloroquine are used to treat fatigue as well as skin and joint problems. For kidney inflammation and rashes, steroid tablets, injections or creams will be prescribed.
In those cases where the patient is suffering from severe lupus, there are two new medicines available known as rituximab and belimumab.
Patients can also control their symptoms in many different ways which can involve a healthy and balanced diet while remaining active during a flare-up can help.
Rest is extremely important and that is why relaxation techniques are recommended to deal with stress which can cause symptoms to worsen. Sunlight can cause a flare-up which means that sufferers should use a high-factor sunscreen while a hat can help when out in the sun.
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