May is Lupus Awareness Month, a chance to educate others on what’s called the “disease of 1,000 faces.”
Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy tissue. It’s a mysterious disease because of the way its symptoms can change, come and go, and imitate other illnesses. There are four types of lupus, but the most common form is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Symptoms of lupus range from mild to severe and include inflammation, swelling, and damage to skin, kidneys, blood, heart, lungs, and the joints.
Other symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Swollen glands or lymph nodes
- Hair loss
- Sensitivity to the sun
- Skin rashes
More severe symptoms include:
- Kidney inflammation
- Thyroid problems
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Pulmonary problems
The Lupus Foundation of America states that “many (but not all) scientists believe that lupus develops in response to a combination of factors both inside and outside the body, including hormones, genetics, and environment.”
Major risk factors include:
Age: Symptoms of lupus are likely to occur between the ages of 15-44 years old.
Sex: According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, women are nine times more likely to develop lupus than men.
Ethnicity/Race: In the U.S., lupus is found in people of color more commonly than Caucasians. Studies show that lupus develops earlier and more severely among ethnic groups like Pacific Islanders, Asian Americans, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, and Latinos.
Family History: Those with relatives who have lupus are 5-13 percent more likely to develop it. Although rare, it is possible for a woman with lupus to give birth to a child who inherits a form of the disease called neonatal lupus.
When it comes to treatment, lupus requires an individualistic approach to mitigate symptoms. Every case and person are different and require a doctor’s direction for treatment.
Although lupus is a mysterious disease, diagnosis and treatment have made major strides. In the 1950s, lupus patients had a 5 percent five-year survival rate. Astonishingly, lupus has a 95 percent 5-year survival rate today. Millions of people have found success with managing the effects of lupus in the right treatment method. If you’re experiencing any of the signs of lupus mentioned in this article, call your doctor or stop by Texarkana Emergency Center.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Texarkana Emergency Center and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Texarkana Emergency Center, or any of our concierge-level medical facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.