Is it Lupus? What Should You Be Looking For?

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder. That means that it is a condition wherein the body's immune system attacks healthy organs and skin tissue instead of only responding to diseases and injuries. Most people who have heard of lupus associate it with one of its main telltale signs, which is a butterfly-shaped rash spread across the cheeks and nose of the face.

Despite this, there are actually four different types of it. The type that causes a rash is called cutaneous lupus erythematosus and it can cause rashes and lesions to appear on other parts of the body too because it mainly attacks the skin. Systemic lupus erythematosus attacks several different systems of the body at the same time. Unfortunately, it is the most common form of the disease. Neonatal lupus only attacks infants who are still in their mother's womb. It is rare. If it isn't treated in time, it can be fatal because it can cause a miscarriage. The last form of lupus is drug-induced lupus erythematosus. It only occurs when a person takes certain medications that cause an improper immune system response. Usually, it clears up once the medications are stopped. Since about 1.5 million people in the United States currently have one of these forms of lupus, it is important to understand more information about the condition, especially in regards to the symptoms that it causes and the common questions that people ask their doctor about it.

What Are the Symptoms of Lupus?

The symptoms of lupus vary from person to person depending on the type of lupus that they have and whether or not they have any other health issues. However, there are a few common signs that doctors look for whenever they are trying to make a diagnosis. The first one is a skin rash across the face. At first, a person may mistake it for eczema or a bad sunburn. After a while, red patches will start to appear on other parts of the body besides the face though. Fatigue and a high fever are both also common because of the way that the condition triggers an improper immune system response. Next, a person will experience joint pain, high protein levels in their urine, inflammation in one or more organs, and mouth ulcers. In cases of neonatal lupus, the mother may notice that she is having severe cramping and abdominal pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

After reviewing some of the above mentioned facts about lupus and the symptoms that it causes, many people still have some questions about the condition. A few of the most common ones include:

Q: Is lupus contagious?

A: No. This condition can't be spread from one person to another.

Q: How long can a person live if they have lupus?

A: If a person receives treatment in time, it is possible to put the condition in remission. Many people who have it are able to live a long and full life.

Q: What kind of an impact does lupus have on a person's active lifestyle?

A: Because lupus can cause lethargy, organ damage, and skin sensitivity, those who have it often struggle with being able to lead an active lifestyle, especially if their kidneys become affected by it. That is because kidney damage often results in daily dialysis treatments that take several hours to complete.

Q: Who gets lupus the most?

A: Adult women get lupus more often than men or small children do.

Q: Is lupus hereditary?

A: There seems to be a possible genetic link to lupus because of genes that can make a person more likely to develop an autoimmune disorder. However, there is no single gene that is responsible for lupus.

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