What is Lupus?
Lupus is a disease that affects the immune system wherein healthy cells cannot be distinguished by the immune system from unhealthy cells. Lupus cases chronic inflammation in many systems of the body including the blood, joints, kidneys and the skin.
There are about 1.5 million reported cases of Lupus in the United States, and for some reason unknown yet to science, about 90% of those affected are women. People affected with Lupus can have varying symptoms, with varying degrees of severity. Some of the most common symptoms include fever, fatigue, a sudden drop or spike in weight, face rash (usually butterfly shaped, affecting the cheeks or nose bridge), skin sores and shortness of breath. In the past, being identified as a lupus victim can be a grim diagnosis. However, modern treatment has reduced the risk dramatically, and lupus patients have a very good chance at resuming their normal lives.
There are four different types of lupus:
1. Systemic lupus erythematosus ‘“ One of the most common forms of lupus and also the most serious. When the term lupus is used loosely by the layman, this type is usually what they mean. This disease can affect virtually any body system.
2. Cutaneous lupus or discoid lupus erythematosus ‘“ this type affects only the skin. Rashed usually occur in the face area, neck area and scalp.
3. Drug-induced lupus erythematosus ‘“ This form usually manifests upon taking certain drugs, and can affect any system in the body. The symptoms usually disappear when taking of the drugs is stopped.
4. Neonatal lupus ‘“ a type of lupus affecting newborn babies, a condition passed on by the mother. The skin rashes usually disappear a few months after birth.