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Lupus - Definition of the Disease

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Definition of the Disease

Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease of unknown cause that can affect virtually any part of the body. The medical term for Lupus is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or better known as SLE. With Lupus there is a malfunction in some of the cells of the immune system. "In Lupus, the body overreacts to an unknown stimulus and makes to many antibodies, or proteins directed against body tissue. Thus, Lupus is called an autoimmune disease. "#

Myth/Reality Statements

Myth: Lupus is contagious.

Reality: It is not contagious, it is not spread from person to person.

Myth: It is uncommon in women to contact Lupus.

Reality: "Between the ages of 15 and 45, close to 90% of diagnosed patients are women ."

Myth: Caucasians are most apt to be diagnosed with Lupus.

Reality: In the United States, African Americans, Latinos, and Asians have a greater incidence of SLE than Caucasians ."

Myth: Lupus is a curable disease.

Reality: Lupus is controllable not curable.

Myth: The most common initial complaint is fevers, weight loss and fatigue.

Reality: The most common complaint is pain in joints or swelling followed by skin rashes. #


Women are the most common to suffer from Lupus. Although men and

Children can get Lupus, 80% of Lupus patients are women ." There are three times as many black women as white women affected by this disease. During the first ten years of life, girls will have Lupus three to seven more times often than boys. Three are about 1,400,000 cases of Lupus diagnosed at the present time, but there can be up to 2 million unreported cases since the disease in extremely difficult to diagnose. "Only 10% of Lupus patients will have a close relative who already has or may develop Lupus. Only 5% of children born to individuals with Lupus will develop the illness ." #

The cause of Lupus is still unknown. Some doctors feel that there are some environmental and genetic factors involved. Some of the environmental factors include: infections, antibodies, especially those in the Sulfa and Penicillin groups, ultra violet light, extreme stress and certain drugs.

There are an incredible number of symptoms that you can have with Lupus. There are general symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, low-grade fever, generalized aching and chills. These symptoms are most evident when the patient is in a flare, but they may be experienced constantly during the illness.

Skin problems also occur in patients with Lupus. Facial redness or a rash on the face appears in the shape of a butterfly. This rash is flat, patchy lesions can also occur on the face; these lesions are raised and rough to the touch. Some Lupus patients may lose their hair, and scarring on the scalp may be related to this. Lupus patients also experience photosensitivity, a harmful reaction to sunlight. Rashes can occur due to exposure to sunlight. People that have Lupus bruise easily. Ulcers may occur in the mouth, nose and throat ." #

There are also symptoms that involve the chest. These involve chest pain due to pleurisy, and irritation of the membranes lining the inside of the chest around the lungs, and pain due to pericarditis, and inflammation of the sack surrounding the heart. With both of these conditions there is difficulty in breathing, pain, shortness of breath, or a rapid heartbeat.

Joint pain is common in Lupus. Patients suffer from arthritis-like pain, swelling in the joints, redness and stiffness. These symptoms involve one or more joints.

Lupus may also affect the blood. Anemia is common in individuals with Lupus, with this condition there is a low read blood cell count, the red blood cells are coated with antibodies that cause them to break down and break apart. Leupkopenia is also common, with this condition there is a low white blood cell count. This can lead



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