Understanding Lupus – What Are Its Types and Symptoms

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If you follow popular global entertainment news, you’re probably aware that there are high profile celebrities dealing with Lupus. Singer and actress Selena Gomez underwent a kidney transplant to outwork the severe impact of lupus on her system. Meanwhile, soul singer Seal still has obvious scars lupus left on his cheeks.

A kidney transplant and skin scarring? There’s no denying that lupus is no light disease – in some cases, it leads to a rather painful death. But what really is lupus? What causes it? And are there different types?

What is Lupus?

Medical professionals describe it as a chronic autoimmune disease that impacts the body and manifests in different ways. The physical discomforts people with lupus experience range from the body just shutting down and not functioning normally to constant pain to the appearance of rashes to easily getting whatever common illness is floating around.

Due to the range of its symptoms, lupus is typically difficult to diagnose correctly because many of its symptoms or manifestations are similar to those of other diseases. This is why this illness is called the “great imitator.” An episode with lupus can present discomforts similar to influenza, mononucleosis, and even cancer.

Since it’s an autoimmune disorder, a flare-up of lupus typically happens when one with the condition experiences great stress. When the body’s natural immune system grows weak, people with lupus can expect any of the common symptoms to manifest.

What are the Different Types of Lupus?

There are five known types of this autoimmune disorder.

1. Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

This type of lupus creates sores with inflammation and scarring typically on the face and head. The sores may appear on other parts of the body as well but they tend to be more prevalent on the face and head. For some, it starts out as a mild rash that over time get worse, appearing crusty and scaly.

The inflammation doesn’t go away even with topical solutions and dermatological treatments.

2. Drug-Induced Lupus (DIL) Erythematosus

As the name implies, it is caused by a person’s chronic use of certain drugs. Medical professionals have identified 38 medications that result in DIL, but the three drugs that have reported the highest number of DIL cases are hydralazine, isoniazid, and procainamide.

The symptoms of this type of lupus are joint and muscle pains, fatigue, serositis or inflammation of the heart and lungs’ lining.

3. Neonatal Lupus

This is a rather rare type of lupus, which happens to infants with a mother who has autoantibodies of the Ro/La family. It manifests through cutaneous lupus lesions similar to DLE and/or congenital heart block.

Only around one percent of infants with a mother with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus get the said condition.

4. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

This is the most prevalent type of lupus and its symptoms range from mild to severe such as:

  • arthralgia (muscle pain) and myalgia (joint pain)
  • frequent fevers
  • chest pains
  • weight loss due to lack of appetite
  • fatigue
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • mouth sores
  • headaches
  • blood-clotting problems
  • butterfly rash

People with SLE report feeling anxious and depressed quite often.

There’s no properly identified cause for SLE but medical professionals say it’s most likely a combination of genetic and environmental variables (such as stress, ultraviolet rays, and trauma).

5. Subacute Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus

This type of lupus is most often present in white women between the ages 15 and 40. It manifests through scaly lesions (which are raised on the borders and sooth in the center) on sun-exposed areas of the body such as the neckline and forearms (but never the face). They often look a lot like psoriasis.

It may be brought on by sun-sensitizing medication. However, it is commonly linked to other autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome (whose symptoms are dry eyes and mouth) and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dealing with Lupus

It goes without saying that lupus is a condition that can downgrade the quality of life. People who are afflicted with this autoimmune disorder require the care, support, and understanding of their loved ones, particularly during flare-ups.

In cases wherein there’s severe arthralgia and myalgia due to the condition, even the most trivial activities can prove impossible to do for patients. Therefore, a great amount of time and energy should be poured on them as well.

Loving family members think nothing of all that most of the time – they willingly give what they can to provide the help their ill family member needs. But it’s important to point out that it would be to the great comfort of the person with lupus if the physical assistance is provided the right way.

For this, professional home nursing services can make a whole world of difference. The medical care professionals are trained to assist patients with the physical difficulties they’re experiencing. The nurses will also help with the planning and implementation of the custom care plan for patients. With such services, not only the patients can have some relief, the people who love and live with them too.

It’s unfortunate that lupus still doesn’t have a cure. But with healthy practices, regular doctor checkups, medication, and love and support, people who suffer from it can somehow regain a sense of normalcy despite the condition.

AUTHOR BIO

Ibrahim Khader founded Angels of Medical Care in 2010. The name “Angels” was chosen because of his belief that nurses are angels of healing and care with the blessings of the creator. The company has flourished and is now one of the best, most renowned home care companies in Dubai.

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