Many different types of chronic illnesses impact people’s lives across the world, and many of them are yet to have a cure. However, while cures for these often-debilitating illnesses are not commonplace, there are things we can do to alleviate symptoms so that sufferers can move towards living a much more normal life than without these treatments. Lupus is one of these illnesses that does not currently have a cure, and for those suffering from this disease, we’ve put together our own guide to highlight symptoms and propose available treatments that are seen to be at least somewhat helpful.
What Is Lupus?
This disease can be separated into two categories. One of which only affects the skin is called discoid lupus. Yet, while this can be problematic for sufferers when we discuss lupus, we tend to focus on systemic lupus, which impacts not only the skin but also certain organs as well as joints. There are many different symptoms that come with this illness, and some of these can be very serious. With early treatment, however, these symptoms can be reduced in severity. Because of this, it’s important to seek medical assistance as soon as possible and to speak to your GP whenever you are struggling or symptoms worsen.
What Causes Lupus?
Because lupus is an autoimmune disease, it’s not a contagious one. This is simply where the body is attacking itself, potentially damaging healthy parts of the body. It’s not certain what causes someone to develop lupus, yet some suggestions are viral infections, overexposure to sunlight, childbirth, menopause, and even puberty. Certain medications have been suggested as causes of lupus too. There are also some factors that have been suggested to increase the risk of developing lupus. In fact, women between the ages of 20 and 49 and of Asian, Chinese, and Afro-Caribbean ethnicity are the most likely to develop this illness.
It’s important to do your research on lupus if displaying any of the physical, visible symptoms. Speaking to your GP is also highly advised if you suspect that you might be suffering from this condition or have any symptoms. One of the most obvious physical signs of lupus is that of a butterfly-shaped rash over the cheeks and the bridge of the nose. As well as this, some sufferers may experience hair loss and mouth ulcers too. These physical ailments are not only painful and irritating to sufferers, but they can also seriously impact self-confidence and increase the chances of them developing anxiety disorders. A GP will be able to refer you to mental health services if this is the case for you.
As well as these obvious, visible symptoms that those with lupus might experience, there are a number of different hidden symptoms that only the sufferer will be aware of. These symptoms are caused by inflammation and include joint pain, headaches, and chest pain. The tissue around the heart and lungs can become inflamed by this disease, which may be the cause of these chest pains. However, the heart and lung tissue may also be affected in more severe cases, but this is rare. As well as the inflammation of areas in the chest, the kidneys can also become inflamed too, leading to chronic kidney disease.
Mental Health And Neurological Issues
As mentioned above, mental health problems can be common for those suffering from lupus. As well as the anxiety that aesthetic changes in the skin can cause, simply being subjected to the myriad of symptoms of an illness like this can understandably have a huge impact on the way sufferers feel. Depression is common among those who deal with chronic illnesses, and it’s very important to discuss these issues with a trained medical professional. As well as mental health problems, there is also the risk of inflammation of the brain and the nervous system, which can also lead to headaches, migraines, and even epilepsy in some cases.
Types Of Treatment
There are a number of treatments available to those who are diagnosed with lupus, and these will come in the form of a few different types of medications. Commonly, sufferers will be prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs. These are regularly given to those suffering from joint pain and include oral medication and ointments that can be applied to the area in question. For skin problems, hydroxychloroquine is a common treatment for skin problems too. Then, immunosuppressants can also be prescribed for more serious cases, such as azathioprine and methotrexate. These diminish the power of the patient’s immune system to reduce the damage it does to the body. Autoimmune diseases take the focus away from fighting off illnesses in favour of attacking parts of the body, and while these drugs will reduce that damage, they can also lead to the body being even less effective in fighting off other diseases too.