A person’s immune system is supposed to be its protector. It’s supposed to remove the things in our body that are attempting to hurt us. Unfortunately, that’s not how everyone’s body works. Many bodies have diseases in which the immune system sees a part of the body and mistakenly considers it an invader. Lupus is one one of those diseases.
Lupus is actually a blanket term intended for several diseases that are incredibly similar. People with lupus can have different parts of their body attacked, including their skin, blood cells, joints and brain. Internal organs are also at risk, with the heart, lungs and kidneys very common.
One way that many people learn that they have lupus is through extensive rashes. These rashes will often occur across the face from the mouth to the eyes.
Unfortunately, the causes of Lupus aren’t fully known. Currently it’s believed that both genetics and environment can both play a role in creating the disease within a person. This leads to a variety of symptoms which are often unique. It makes every case of Lupus different and individual. This means that treatment will often need to be just as individual.
Symptoms of Lupus
There are many symptoms that a person may have, but it depends on where their body is experiencing lupus. Some of the most common symptoms of lupus include:
- Severe Joint and Muscle Pain
- Sensitivity to Sunlight
- Skin Rashes
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Bald Patches
- Enlarged Lymph Nodes
- Sores on/in the nose mouth and throat
Almost every treatment for Lupus involved one type of medication of another. These drugs can work in different fashions. Either they are trying to reduce the potential of Lupus flare ups or they are trying to reduce the severity of those flare ups. Here are some of the medications that might be used for treatment:
- Malaria Blocking Drugs - Malaria is a deadly and dangerous disease. Transmitted by mosquitoes, it kills many people. The drugs that stop it also can help with Lupus. Taking malaria blocking drugs will reduce the potential for bad Lupus flare ups. Unfortunately there are some side effects. In some cases there are retina problems, while upset stomach is common.
- Inflammation Calming Drugs - These are a mix of drugs that are known to help relieve and calm inflammation in the body. Many of these are available over the counter. There are also more powerful versions which would require a prescription.
- Biologics - This is a newer type of drug. It’s different because of the process in which it is created. Those that work to help in the fight against Lupus are introduced through an IV.
- Immune System Suppressants - This line of drugs is used for people who have overactive immune diseases. Lupus isn’t the only disease in which the body may attack itself. Since the immune system is suppressed, the most common side effect is an increased rate of infection.
Beneficial Lifestyle Changes
For most people, the battle against lupus will require many changes to their lifestyle. The changes are designed to make living with the disease less painful. Here are some choices that people are going to have to make:
- Quit Smoking - Smoking is never a healthy option. Quitting smoking can help reduce the effect of lupus as it flares up.
- Change in Diet - A diet for people with lupus will likely be high in fresh and healthy food. Vegetables and whole grain are staples, while many also eat a fair bit of fruit.
- Exercise - When one lifestyle change is a good diet, the other is almost always to exercise as well. Exercise is crucial to good health.
- Sun Protection - Ultraviolet light is a very common trigger for lupus flare ups. When people with lupus head into the sun, they need to be prepared. They should try to protect the skin with layers of clothing whenever possible. When that’s not possible, very high SPF sunscreen should be used.
- Check Ins - Many lupus sufferers will only check in with their doctor when there is a flare up and they are in pain. A better option is regular checkups that can work on preventative measures to try and help avoid the flare ups in the first place.