What is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune means that your immune system will be over reactive and attack the healthy cells of your body.
There are several different kinds of Lupus.
-Systemic Lupus Erythematosis which affects your entire body and many times, major organs. -Discoid (or Cutaneous) Lupus Erythamatosis which affects the skin and may affect other organs.
-Lupus Nephritis which attacks the kidneys.
-Pregnancy induced Lupus which may only last during the duration of pregnancy, or might be life-lasting
Some patients may have more than one type of Lupus at once (for example, it is common for someone with DLE to develop SLE, or for a person with SLE to develop Lupus Nephritis.
What are the Symptoms of Lupus?
There is no single test for Systemic Lupus, as it is a complicated and diverse illness. To be diagnosed with Lupus, a patient will have typically four or more of the following symptoms:
Malar rash: butterfly-shaped rash across cheeks and nose
Discoid (skin) rash: raised red patches
Photosensitivity: skin rash as result of unusual reaction to sunlight
Mouth or nose ulcers: usually painless
Arthritis (nonerosive) in two or more joints, along with tenderness, swelling, or effusion. With nonerosive arthritis, the bones around joints don’t get destroyed.
Cardio-pulmonary involvement: inflammation of the lining around the heart (pericarditis) and/or lungs (pleuritis)
Neurologic disorder: seizures and/or psychosis
Renal (kidney) disorder: excessive protein in the urine, or cellular casts in the urine
Hematologic (blood) disorder: hemolytic anemia, low white blood cell count, or low platelet count
Immunologic disorder: antibodies to double stranded DNA, antibodies to Sm, or antibodies to cardiolipin
Antinuclear antibodies (ANA): a positive test in the absence of drugs known to induce it. A special note on the ANA test
Is there a Cure?
Unfortunately, none of the chronic forms of Lupus have a cure available. Pregnancy induced Lupus, or Lupus Nephritis in individuals previously without the disease might only last a short period of time (until kidneys have been treated, or until pregnancy is over).
There are several available treatments available, and all depend on the individuals needs. Most medications are to reduce inflammation and pain, either by NSAIDs or corticosteroids.
Who has Lupus?
125 Million Americans suffer from Chronic Illness
1.5 million (or 1 in every 200) Americans have Lupus
16,000 develop it each year
80% of cases are developed between the ages of 15-45
90% of all cases are women
African Americans, Native Americans, Asians and Hispanics are 3X more likely to develop Lupus
Only 5% of children born of parents with Lupus will develop the disease
Discoid Lupus makes up for about 10% of all Lupus cases
Systemic Lupus (SLE) accounts for 70% of all Lupus cases
20% of all Lupus patients have a relative with Lupus
Information and Statistics compiled from