Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by widespread pain,skin rashes and a failure of body systems as the immune system attacks skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood,kidney and brain. SLE is most often the lupus one is referring to when the term “lupus” is mentioned,but not always. Below you will find descriptions of other forms of lupus.
SLE can cause serious complications to organ systems such as:
Inflammation of kidneys (lupus nephritis)Increase in blood pressure in lungs (pulmonary hypertension)Inflammation of nervous system and brain causing memory problems, confusion,headaches, and strokes.Inflammation in the brain’s blood vessels, causing fevers, seizures, behavior changes.Hardening of the arteries.
About Lupus: Lupus is not contagious and researchers have yet to determine exactly what causes ortriggers the immune system to begin attacking the body. There appears to be a strong family historycomponent involved in whether one is predisposed to Lupus.
Other Lupus triggers can be certain illnesses. Researchers have found that there is an increased risk oflupus in those who have become infected with the Epstein-Barr virus. There has even been some linkwith parvovirus and hepatitis C (but not a direct causal link) (source about.com)
No two lupus patients experience symptoms in the same way. The symptoms may come on in a sudden flare or develop over a long period of time. One of the most frustrating things for a person with lupus is that we all have such varying degrees of the illness that comparing us will inevitably make one person seem "less" or "more" sick than another. No one is "less or more sick, just "different".
I have heard lupus called “the great pretender”, and I think that is very appropriate. When you see the symptoms you can apply them to so many other illnesses. People with lupus don’t have to have ALL of these symptoms to have the disease. These, coupled with tests/bloodwork will be used to diagnose lupus. ~ (Jules)
Lupus can be a very difficult illness to diagnose. Many people go for years struggling to get a diagnosis. The symptoms often hide behind the symptoms of many other illnesses. Often a person is tested and retested and only after a great deal of time, as symptoms change over the course of the disease to doctors feel "comfortable" finally diagnosing lupus.
To begin with, doctors will look at the symtpoms of lupus. Does the patient present with any of the following?
One does not need to have ALL of these symptoms. Read Lupus.Org's Symptoms of Lupus
Tests for Lupus can be a challenge. Not all tests yeild results that give doctors precise answers they are looking for. Abnormal results on varying tests can be more or less severe not only based on the patient but based on the current status of the disease in each patient.
Lupus.Org has a description of the varying laboratory tests performed for Lupus and what information their results can add to the full diagnostic picture of your quest to discovering whether or not you have Lupus.
Most of the blogs I read are on Tumblr. It's an easy format for me because I can subscribe to as many as I want and they are served up post after post on my dashboard. The risk of beginning a list of blogs to recommend is that I will most certainly miss a number of good ones. If you know of a good blog that I should check out please send it to me using the contact form.
LA Lupus Lady
Rhian: Smoke and Mirrors
Tammy’s True Tales
Me versus Lupus
Miss Ginger Lee
My Life With Lupus
Becca Is Stellar
It Was Lupus
My Autoimmune Life
The Riley Effect
Cutaneous refers to the skin, and this form of lupus is limited to the skin. Although there are many types of rashes and lesions (sores) caused by cutaneous lupus, the most common rash is raised, scaly and red, but not itchy. It is commonly known as a discoid rash, because the areas of rash are shaped like disks, or circles. Another common example of cutaneous lupus is a rash over the cheeks and across the bridge of the nose, known as the butterfly rash. Other rashes or sores may appear on the face, neck, or scalp (areas of the skin that are exposed to sunlight or fluorescent light), or in the mouth, nose, or vagina. Hair loss and changes in the pigment, or color, of the skin are also symptoms of cutaneous lupus.
Approximately 10 percent of people who have cutaneous lupus will develop systemic lupus. However, it is likely that these people already had systemic lupus, with the skin rash as their main symptom. (Source lupus.org)
Drug-induced lupus is a lupus-like disease caused by certain prescription drugs. The symptoms of drug-induced lupus are similar to those of systemic lupus, but only rarely will any major organs be affected.
The drugs most commonly connected with drug-induced lupus are hydralazine (used to treat high blood pressure or hypertension), procainamide (used to treat irregular heart rhythms), and isoniazid (used to treat tuberculosis). Drug-induced lupus is more common in men because they are given these drugs more often; however, not everyone who takes these drugs will develop drug-induced lupus. The lupus-like symptoms usually disappear within six months after these medications are stopped. (source lupus.org)
Neonatal lupus is a rare condition that affects infants of women who have lupus and is caused by antibodies from the mother acting upon the infant in the womb. At birth, the infant may have a skin rash, liver problems, or low blood cell counts, but these symptoms disappear completely after several months with no lasting effects. Some infants with neonatal lupus can also have a serious heart defect. With proper testing, physicians can now identify most at-risk mothers, and the infant can be treated at or before birth. Most infants of mothers with lupus are entirely healthy. (Source lupus.org)
Chelsea Swift never imagined when transferring to GW in 2009 that she would be adjusting to more than just a new college.
Only weeks into her first term, Swift was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disorder affecting the skin, joints and kidneys.
"First I was just in denial that this was a chronic illness," Swift said. But after weeks of side effects, she could see herself changing because of the disease and the medication. "You become mean, you get fat, your face gets huge, you lose all your hair and you grow hair everywhere else on your body."
(Source George Washington University Student Newspaper)
(Source West Midlands Lupus Group)
There is so much you can do to spread the word!
LFA's Lupus Awareness Month Page
Sign the awareness pledge
Here is the Band Together Toolkit from the LFA. (Consider changing your avatar with one from the toolkit for May)
This PDF is for World Lupus Day on May 10th.
Walk for Lupus
Find your local chapter of the LFA and see what is going on in your area.
What are you doing for Lupus Awarenes Month?
Hydroxychloroquine belongs to the family of medicines called antiprotozoals. Protozoa are tiny, one-celled animals. Some are parasites that can cause many different kinds of infections in the body.
This medicine is used to prevent and to treat malaria and to treat some conditions such as liver disease caused by protozoa. It is also used in the treatment of arthritis to help relieve inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and joint pain and to help control the symptoms of lupus erythematosus (lupus; SLE).
For patients taking hydroxychloroquine for arthritis or lupus:
This medicine must be taken regularly as ordered by your doctor in order for it to help you. It may take up to several weeks before you begin to feel better. It may take up to 6 months before you feel the full benefit of this medicine.
Check with your doctor immediately if blurred vision, difficulty in reading, or any other change in vision occurs during or after long-term treatment. Your doctor may want you to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).
If your symptoms do not improve within a few days (or a few weeks or months for arthritis), or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
Hydroxychloroquine may cause blurred vision, difficulty in reading, or other change in vision. It may also cause some people to become dizzy or lightheaded. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or are not alert or able to see well. If these reactions are especially bothersome, check with your doctor.
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine.
Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially: