LUPUS/SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)
After being diagnosed with Polymyositis, six months later I was also diagnosed with Lupus. I later found out that It was very common to have overlapping symptoms from both diseases. This lead to my quest for extensive research, as I was determined to learn all I could about the two. #1 LUPUS / SLE
For more in depth information on Lupus feel free to have a look at our Lupus / SLE Glossary of Medical Terms and Phrases.
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Systemic Lupus - Systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common type. It is often diagnosed, or referred to as "lupus." This type can affect almost any part of the body. External, or internal meaning the organs. A large number of people diagnosed with systemic lupus are women. Among people in the United States, the highest numbers are found in African-Americans. Inclusive Links On Lupus
Symptoms of Lupus can be mild or severely chronic:
Drug Induced Lupus - A very rare condition that occurs as a result of taking certain types of medications for long periods of time. The drugs relative to this form of lupus are Hydralazine (Apresoline), and Procainamide (Pronestryl). This particular drug is used to treat high blood pressure. Procainamide (Pronestryl) is used to treat heart disease. As these drugs can cause drug-induced lupus they are being used less, and less. The symptoms that occur can mimic those of Systemic Lupus. They are muscle pain, joint pain, fever, and rash. Men are more susceptible to develop this form of lupus than women. After you stop using these drugs, the symptoms will go away. It usually takes six months for the effects to ware off. This form of treatment does not cause patients to develop Systemic Lupus.
Neonatal Lupus - Another very rare condition. When a mother develops a certain kind of lupus antibodies, she inadvertently transfers them to her child at the time of birth. It is possible for the mother to have these antibodies without having any of the forms of lupus herself. Actually 40% of the mothers of babies with neonatal lupus develop the disease itself. Symptoms in a child are: rash, anemia, and, occasionally juvenile, or childhood lupus. Systemic Lupus has also been diagnosed in children. Of the one's diagnosed, the symptoms are the same as in adult lupus. Juvenile lupus is very prevalent in young boys and is more likely to attack the kidneys. The treatments are very aggressive, and far more antagonistic than those given to adults.
Other symptoms depend on
Kidneys - Lupus can cause serious kidney damage. One of the primary causes of death is kidney failure. Some of the signs of kidney problems are generalized itching, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and leg swelling or (edema). Also known as, "pitting" after pressure is applied to a small area, the indentation persists after the pressure is released.
Brain - When the brain is affected by lupus, you will experience headaches, dizziness, behavioral changes, and hallucinations. It is also common to encounter strokes or seizures. Many people will experience what is known as brain fog. Others can find it difficult to focus their thoughts.
Blood & Blood Vessels - Lupus can also lead to blood problems, anemia, and increased risk of bleeding & blood clotting. People can also develop inflammation of the blood vessels, or vasculitis.
Lungs - People with lupus can develop inflammation of the chest cavity lining or (pleurisy), which makes breathing painful.
Heart - There is also inflammation of the heart muscles. The arteries, and heart membrane (pericarditis). Cardiovascular disease, and heart attack risk is increased.
Infection - People suffering from lupus are vulnerable to infection. The risk of infection is heighten from the disease itself, and the treatments. This can inhibit the immune system. Some of these infections are urinary tract, respiratory, and yeast infections. Also salmonella, herpes, and shingles.
Cancer - There is also the risk of cancer. The threat of cancer is greatly increased. You should be checked regularly by a physician for any signs.
Avascular Necrosis - This develops when the blood supply to a bone is diminished. Tiny breaks in the bone develop, leading to the bone's collapse. The hip joint is a common are.
Pregnancy - The risk of miscarriage is increased. The risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy is also increased. Also called (preeclampsia), and preterm birth. To help reduce the chance of this happening doctors will often recommend delaying pregnancy. This can be up to 6 months, or until the disease is under control.
Diagnosing lupus is very difficult. The signs vary from person to person. No two people diagnosed are going to be the same. Lupus symptoms can fluctuate over time, and overlap with other diseases such as Polymyositis. There are a number of test used to diagnose lupus. It takes more than one to determine it fully. The combination of blood, and urine tests, signs and symptoms, and physical examination findings lead to a factual diagnosis.
Symptoms Used to Diagnose Lupus
1. Butterfly Rash
2. Sunlight Triggered Rash
3. Mouth & Nasal Sores
4. Joint Swelling
5. Inflammation of the lining of the heart & lungs.
6. Urine Abnormalities
7. Seizures or Psychosis
9. Discoid Rash
10. Positive ANA
11. Other Antibody Test
Blood Count - This test can count the number of red &, white blood cells, platelets and the amount of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells. The results can verify if you have anemia, which is a common occurrence in lupus patients. A low white blood cell or platelet count can also be seen.
Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate - This form of testing determines the rate at which red blood cells settle to the bottom of a test tube in an hour. When the settling rate is faster than normal it might specify a systemic disease. The sedimentation rate is different for every disease. It can also be elevated if you have lupus. This also applies to other inflammatory conditions, cancer or infection.
Kidney & Liver Assessment - Such testing can determine how well the kidneys and liver function. Lupus is known to affect the internal organs of the body.
Urinalysis - A urine sample can sometimes show an increase of protein or red blood cells, which can develop if lupus has an influence on your kidneys.
Antinuclear Antibody or (ANA) - If you should test positive for the presence of antibodies, (produced by your immune system), it will indicate an overstimulated immune system. A lot of people with lupus have a positive ANA test. There are a number of people with a positive ANA that do not have lupus. If you test positive your doctor may recommend more specific testing for evidence of other antibodies.
Chest X-ray - A chest x-ray may display abnormal shadows that can suggest fluid or inflammation in your lungs.
Echocardiogram - Sound waves can be used to produce a real-time image of your heart as it beats. Valves and other portions of your heart can be properly checked for any problems.
Lupus can damage your kidneys in multiple ways. When this happens treatments can vary. All of this depends on the type of damage that takes place in the kidney. It is often necessary to test a small sample of kidney tissue. This can help determine what the best treatment should be. A needle can be used, or a small incision can be done to acquire a sufficient sample.
Non - Steroidal Anti - inflammatory Drugs, or (NSAIDs) - NSAIDs, such as naproxen (Aleve), and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.), are frequently used to treat Lupus symptoms. These are pain, swelling, and fever. More aggressive drugs, or NSAIDs are available through prescription request. Side effects of NSAIDs range from stomach bleeding, kidney problems, to the augmented risk of heart complications.
Antimalarial Drugs - Hydroxychloroquine or (Plaquenil), can help suppress lupus, and the immune system. It is also used to treat people who suffer from Malaria.There have been cases where people are allergic to this drug. It can cause the symptoms of lupus to worsen. The symptoms reduce after use of the drug has been stopped. Side effects can include an upset stomach, and on rare occasions damage to the retina of the eye. People using this drug are recommended to get their eyes checked regularly. Plaquenil is also known as a DMARDs (Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drug). Click to read more about these disease modifiers...
Corticosteroids - Prednisone and other types of corticosteroids can counteract the inflammation of lupus. The long- term use of these drugs can produce long-term side effects. Such as weight gain, aggressive behavior, mood swings, bruising easily, thinning bones (osteoporosis), high blood pressure, diabetes, and heighten threat of infection. The threat of side effects increases greatly with higher doses, and long term use.
Immuno Suppressants - Drugs that suppress, or subdue the immune system may be helpful in severe cases of lupus, and other auto - immune disorders. For example: Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), Azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan), Mycophenolate (Cellcept), Leflunomide (Arava) and Methotrexate (Trexall). All of these are some of the most common drugs used to treat Auto - immune diseases. Side effects to these are an increased risk of infection, liver damage, decreased fertility, an increased risk of cancer. A newer medication called Belimumab or (Benlysta), also reduces lupus symptoms in some people. Some of the side effects are nausea, diarrhea and fever.
The outcome for people with Lupus / SLE has improved in recent years. How well you do depends on how severe the disease is, and how soon your diagnosed. The disease tends to be more active in people under 40, in the beginning stages of diagnoses. This is not to say their less fortunate than others. The disease will be active regardless of your age, and even through remission. People have managed to live productive lives, and still keep the diseases under control. As the future unfolds, the outcome looks brighter. Each day brings them closer to a cure.
The next disease featured on our list will be #2 POLYMYOSITIS.
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The modification date for all health, and medical content on this page was last updated, and checked on December 29th, 2015 PST U.S.A.