Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or simply Lupus is a very complicated health condition. While no one has ever died from the disease per se, so many people have died from related complications. Perhaps the thing that makes Lupus such a difficult condition is the fact that it is very hard to diagnose it and even harder to find the right treatment. Being a chronic condition, there is no one single test yet that can singlehandedly diagnose the disease, making the whole process even more complex.
Lupus risk factors and prevalence
Lupus is a terminal autoimmune disease that is capable of debilitating someone and even result to death as it attacks healthy body tissues, cells, the central nervous system, the skin, the blood, the brain, the heart, lungs, and kidneys among other vital organs of the human body. Lupus is not a contagious disease, neither is it cancerous in nature, but it is very much prevalent than diseases such as Cerebral Palsy, Sickle Cell Anemia, Cystic Fibrosis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even HIV/AIDS. While Lupus attacks men, women, the aged, and children, it tends to be more prevalent in women than in their male counterparts, and it is actually very common in women of color than it is in whites.
Types of Lupus
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, there currently are four major types of Lupus
1. Drug induced Lupus Erythematosus
2. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
3. Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus
4. Neonatal Lupus
The most common type of Lupus is the Systemic one; hence it is the one people refer to when the word Lupus is mentioned. It can be mild or severe depending on the situation and can attack any tissue, cell, or system in the human body. If left untreated, Systemic Lupus can be life-threatening. The worst thing about this condition is that it can be very difficult to diagnose, not until when the patient is debilitated or in a critical stage.
• Unbearable pain in the joints
• Severe fatigue
• Malfunction of vital organs of the body i.e. the lungs, kidneys, brain, and heart
• Lupus fog (memory lapse) and confusion
• Hair loss
• Fevers and sore throat
• Hardening of blood arteries
• A characteristic butterfly rash around the nose and cheeks bridge area
As mentioned, if not properly diagnosed, the patient is likely not to show any symptoms, meaning the disease will be working in the background quietly attacking various systems of the body. Characteristically, it will attack the blood and subsequently form blood clots which could occur anywhere in the human body, the brain and lungs inclusive. Needless to mention, this is a life-threatening condition that can lead to stroke, or worse — death.
It is also to worth mentioning that lupus puts so much pressure and burden not only to the patient but also to the family and close relatives, a burden that can be too heavy to bear. Statistics indicate that most marriages end up in divorce in the first year of a marriage partner being diagnosed with lupus, since the upshots of the disease are as extensive as the symptoms. The financial burden, the symptoms, and generally the changes in lifestyle can at times be too heavy a burden for a marriage to withstand.
Creating Awareness of Lupus and Support
When people are diagnosed with Cancer, or HIV/AIDS, as devastating as the situation is, close family and friends will always be seen coming out in large numbers giving their financial, emotional and physical support. The good thing is that people are much aware of cancer, HIV/AIDS and such like terminal illnesses. On the flip side of the coin, very little is known about Lupus, which could be attributed to the fact that the disease is very hard to diagnose seeing as it is the symptoms only show up in the latter stages when it is at its worse. For the most part, people suffering from Lupus look very healthy and hearty, and subsequently they are characteristically identified as hypochondriacs.
While experts have managed to find out that people who suffer from Lupus have a genetic predisposition, the mystery that is yet to be unraveled lies in isolating the specific gene or genes responsible and getting a way of stopping the genes from developing into fully blown lupus. With that being said, enough awareness ought to be created among the public so they could know how to handle lupus cases.
In conclusion, there is some widespread myths among people suffering from lupus that there are ‘good and bad’ foods to eat or not to eat when suffering from lupus. It is believed that the ‘bad’ foods can cause a flare up or exacerbate an existing condition, while the ‘good’ foods can ease the symptoms. But when all is said and done, it is important to realize that there are bad diets and good diets so you should ensure your dietary regime is well balanced for a lupus patient depending on which part of the body Lupus has attacked.