Understanding Lupus and Staying Healthy
Author: Steven A Johnson
The disease Lupus is classified as an autoimmune disease, and it can affect different parts of the body. In most people it affects the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain. In the case of a normal healthy body, the immune system produces proteins that are called antibodies. These antibodies serve to protect the body against infection, viruses, bacteria, and other foreign matter. The term for these foreign materials is antigens.
What happens when the body is affected with an autoimmune disorder like lupus is that the immune system becomes confused and cannot tell the difference between foreign material and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then begins to make antibodies and directs them against itself; these antibodies are called auto-antibodies. The auto-antibodies affect the body by causing inflammation, pain and damage in different parts of the body.
The primary feature of Lupus is usually considered to be inflammation. The term inflammation in Latin means “set on fire,” and is identified by pain, heat, redness, swelling and loss of function. This can occur on the inside or on the outside of the body, or in some cases or both.
There are considered to be four main types of lupus: discoid, systemic, drug-induced and neonatal lupus.
Discoid type lupus always affects the skin. It is characterized by a rash that appears on the face, neck, and scalp. Discoid lupus can be diagnosed by taking a biopsy of the rash and performing tests. The biopsy will show certain anomalies that are not present in skin without the rash. Discoid lupus usually will not involve problem with the body’s internal organs. In roughly 10 percent of people diagnosed with this disease, discoid lupus can evolve into a more severe problem, and can affect almost any organ or system of the body. It is impossible to predict or prevent this from happening. Unfortunately treatment of discoid lupus will not stop it from progressing to this stage. It is likely that individuals who experience this problem, probably had systemic lupus all along, and the discoid rash was the main symptom.
Systemic lupus is found to be more severe than the previously mentioned discoid lupus, because it affects almost any organ or organ system of the body. It differs from person to person; for some people only the skin and joints may be involved. For other people, the joints, lungs, kidneys, blood, or other organs and/or tissues could be affected. The problem with diagnosing systemic lupus is that, usually no two persons affected with systemic lupus will display identical symptoms. One of the most identifiable symptoms of systemic lupus is that the individual may experience periods in which few (or any) symptoms are evident which is called remission. Other times individuals will experience “flares” which is when the disease becomes more active.
Drug-induced lupus can occur after the use of certain prescribed medications. One of the tricky things about this form of lupus is that the symptoms are similar to those of systemic lupus. The two medications that are most connected with drug-induced lupus are hydralazine and procainamide. Drug induced lupus is generally more common in men because they are given these drugs more often. However, it should be noted that not everyone who takes these medications does or will develop this type of lupus. Roughly about 4 percent of the people who take these medications will develop this type of lupus. Also the symptoms will generally fade when the drugs are discontinued.
Neonatal lupus is a rare and serious condition that is acquired from the passage of maternal auto-antibodies. This particular type of lupus can affect the skin, heart and blood of the fetus and newborn child. The symptoms are associated with a rash that will appear during the first few weeks of life. This rash may continue for roughly six months before fading completely. Neonatal lupus is not classified as systemic lupus.
While there is no cure for lupus, depending on the severity of your disease, it is possible to live a full and normal life. There are natural products available to help with pain and provide dietary support to ailing immune systems. One such product is Lupazol by Micronutra, Lupazol is a nutritional matrix designed to supplement what you don’t find in your daily diet.