Lupus is a chronic disease in which the immune system attacksthe connective tisue of joints, muscles, and skin as well as the membranes surrounding other body organs. People with lupus are often constantly tired and especially sensitive to sunlight On the other hand, the rashes and joint pain that also characterize the disorder are episodic-one day symptoms are present, the next day they are not.
The exact causes of lupus are unknown, though heredity is believed to playa role in determining risk. African Americans are three times as likely as Caucasian Americans to develop the condition. The vast majority of lupus victims are women, and the condition most often strikes between the ages of 15 and 35.
Signs and Symptoms
Severe joint pains and joint swelling
Rash across the nose and cheeks
Sensitivity to sunlight
Weakness and fatigue
Ulcers of the mouth or throat
Conventional Medical Treatment
If you have symptoms of lupus, see your physician, who can diagnose the condition with a blood test. For many lupus victims, the only treatment necessary is avoidance of excessive sunlight and constant use of a strong sunscreen lotion. In most cases the disease is not considered serious, and approximately 40 percent of victims experience a spontaneous-and total-remission.
Mild cases of lupus may only require the use of aspirin to relieve symptoms. In serious cases, lupus can lead to inflammation around the heart and lungs, kidney disease, or serious joint damage. If you suffer from a severe case of lupus, your physician may place you oncorticosteroids to limit joint inflammation. You also must undergo checkups on a monthly basis so that you can treat any of the above complications as they arise.
By Robin Brain
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008