Lupus is a serious chronic autoimmune disease
If you have followed Dr. House, may you have heard the phrase «it must be lupus»? Well, it’s so easy to ask the diagnosis. Because the disease can affect many different organs, it can be difficult to set the correct diagnosis.
Lupus, also called SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), is a serious, dangerous and highly invalidating disease, which in the worst case can be fatal.
– Fortunately, there has been treatment that helps lupus patients. The most important thing is to seek a doctor at the earliest possible time, “says Secretary General of the Norwegian Revolutionary Association, Tone Granaas.
Overactive Immune System
– Lupus is a chronic rheumatic connective tissue disease that causes inflammation in the body. The disease is systemic, which means it can attack many different organs, says Anne Britt Eide. She is a secretary and secretary of Hordaland Lupus Group.
Skin, joints, cells in the blood, kidneys and heart are the organs that are most frequently attacked.
– Lupus species are easily explained so that the immune system becomes overactive. The immune system “goes crazy” and attacks the body’s own tissues as if it were foreign objects, thus creating inflammatory conditions. It is a so-called autoimmune disease, explains Eide.
Nine times more common in women than men
Lupus is nine times more common in women than men, so it is often called a typical “women’s disease”.
This helps with soleksem
– About 2000-3000 women in Norway have this disease, says Eide.
The reason is unknown, but many researchers believe that inheritance and environmental factors play in.
– The condition is most common among women in the 20s to 40s, “says Eide.
Men with lupus may appear to be more frequently attacked in the kidneys than women with the disease, and more often see changes in the blood (hemolytic anemia, lower platelet count or lower lymphocytes) in men.
– Lupus is quite similar in men and women. The main difference is that men have the same likelihood of getting lupus when they are old like when they are young while women have almost 10 times more likelihood than men when they are in childbearing age, ie from the age of 16 to 35, explains specialist in rheumatology and general practitioner at the rheumatology department of Oslo University Hospital, Karoline Lerang.
Since lupus can attack several parts of the body, the disease also gives many different symptoms. The different symptoms will also usually vary over time.
This is lupus
- Lupus, also called systemic lupus erythematosus, is an autoimmune disease that can affect most organ systems in the body. Lupus is a chronic disease, and has periods of improvement and worsening of each other.
- The symptoms are often vague and alternating at first, making it a difficult diagnosis to ask. Joint pain and tiredness, however, are often part of the symptom type. Lupus can cause damage to all organs in the body, as well as atherosclerosis in addition to increased tendon thrombosis, which increases the risk of stroke.
- The course of lupus disease varies from person to person. Some people have mild illness while others are severely affected by serious injuries to internal organs. Lupus affects women nine times more often than men.
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– It was a sadness, but also a relief, to get a diagnosis
The disease often starts with quite vague symptoms like tiredness, drowsiness, joints and muscles and fever, but after a few days or weeks, things like skin rashes and especially the typical “butterfly rash” in the face, mouth ulcer, hair loss, swelling in one or more joints and respiratory pain in the chest. Also, the inconvenience after being in the sun is common, says Eide.
– Many people agree that the disease fluctuates with periods of tiredness and more inflammation in the body, replaced by better periods. The most classic form of lupus is that you go from tolerating the sun well, suddenly getting light sunburned or getting solexem and a characteristic rash over the cheekbone called “butterfly rash”, says Lerang.
Difficult to diagnose
– The disease can be difficult to diagnose and it can take a long time, says Eide.
Eide says that if lupus is suspected, the doctor may diagnose if more than four of these symptoms are present:
- Butterfly face on the face
- Hudlupus, which is typical changes in the skin with spotless red rash with shelling
- light sensitivity
- Mucous ulcer
- Joint arthritis infections
- Inflammation of the pulmonary, cardiac or inner heart of the heart
- Kidney disease with detected urinary urine, or other typical findings of urinary microscopy
- Influence of the central nervous system with epilepsy or mental changes such as depression or confusion
- Blood injury with red blood cell and / or platelet damage and low blood cells
- Typical antibodies to own tissues
- Detection of ANA antibody
Not all treatment is appropriate for everyone
– The disease is very different from person to person, and since it is chronic, one can not recover. But; With proper treatment one can live quite symptom-free during periods, Eide says.
– There are a lot of medicines against lupus. In essence, it is about dampening an active immune system that attacks its own cells. The first medications that are often used are antimalaria medicine and cortisone. One would prefer not to use more cortisone than is necessary, as high doses will cause problems in the long term, explains Lerang.
Other treatment will often depend on what ailments you have. Some get chemotherapy, others get other and modern biological medicines.
However; Not everything is suitable for everyone.
– It can sometimes be a challenge and a long trial to find the treatment appropriate for each patient, “says Eide.
It will also be important to avoid sunbathing, which in many cases can activate the disease. This too may also apply through car routes or the living room window, she says.