Do I have Lupus? – Symptoms and treatments to help

LUPUS – OVERVIEW

Do I have Lupus? Lupus is a very complicated and difficult skin condition to diagnose as it’s very similar to other skin conditions. Rosacea and Eczema can sometimes be diagnosed by mistake when people see this condition and it’s actually Lupus. Always seek professional advice from your Doctor or GP.

There are several different types of Lupus. The term “lupus” is most often used to describe a more severe form of the condition called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

WHAT IS LUPUS?

Lupus is an autoimmune condition where the immune system, mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. The immune system is there to protect you and fight against harmful bacteria, and viruses, but when there’s a breakdown in the immune system, Lupus can attack several parts of the body. The main areas affected are the Face, Joints, heart, and lungs. In some cases, it can even attack the brain!

Up to 50,000 people are thought to have lupus, according to Lupus UK. Around 90% of people with lupus are women, usually aged between 15 and 50.

The condition mainly affects women, but it has to be said it can affect men and older people too.

( Video credits to Lupus UK )

SYMPTOMS

  • Rashes on the face, wrist, hands
  • Swelling
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches, migraine
  • Kidney problems
  • Oral/nasal ulcers
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Haematological disorders including anemia
  • Swollen glands

Sufferers can have symptoms for long period of times or nothing at all, this can be physically hard and emotionally difficult to deal with, it can be a rollercoaster ride. Lupus is a physical skin condition that’s visual to others and this can be distressing and emotionally difficult especially if your symptoms flare-up.

TYPES OF LUPUS

If you have asked the question ‘ Do I have Lupus? ‘ the next question would be ‘ What type do I have? ‘

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) – This condition is the most common form of lupus and is what most people mean when they refer to lupus. The word ‘systemic’ means that the disease can involve many parts of the body and any organ. It can affect a person’s quality of life through pain, fatigue, and associated depression and anxiety. SLE symptoms can be mild or severe.
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) – Discoid lupus erythematosus is typically a milder type of lupus that usually only affects the skin. Symptoms include red, circular, scaly marks on the skin, hair loss, and bald patches. A person with DLE may have to avoid direct sunlight.
  • Drug-induced lupus – More than 100 medications are known to cause lupus symptoms in some people. It is similar to SLE, but symptoms are usually milder. These usually stop if the medication is stopped or changed after seeking medical advice.
    https://youtu.be/0junqD4BLH4

Diagnosis

For a Doctor or GP to come to a firm diagnosis they will need to find that you show at least 4 of the symptoms below.

1. DISCOID RASH – Red patches of skin associated with scaling and plugging of the hair follicles
2. MALAR RASH – Fixed red rash on the cheeks

3. PHOTOSENSITIVITY – Rash after exposure to sunlight

4. ORAL ULCERS – Small sores that occur in mucosal lining of mouth and nose

5. SEROSITIS – Inflammation of the delicate tissues covering internal organs, and abdominal pain

6. ARTHRITIS – Very common in lupus, usually pain in the joints and tendons

7. RENAL DISORDERS – Usually detected by routine blood and urine analysis

8. NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS – Seizures or psychosis, balance problems

9. HAEMATOLOGICAL DISORDER – Haemolytic Anaemia, Leukopenia, Thrombocytopenia

10. IMMUNOLOGIC DISORDER – Tests anti-DNA, anti-SM antibodies, antiphospholipid antibodies

11. ANTI-NUCLEAR ANTIBODY (ANA TEST) – When found in the blood and the patient is not taking drugs, it is known to cause a positive test for lupus in most cases, but it is not necessarily conclusive



TREATMENT

If you’ve asked your Doctor ‘ Do I have Lupus? ‘ If you’ve asked your Doctor this question and the answer is YES then you won’t want to hear this but currently there is no permanent cure for Lupus, however, there are more than 40 scientific studies currently being carried out worldwide trying to find a cure. So we’re hoping that a cure will be found in the future.
A combination of lifestyle changes and medication can manage your condition and hopefully cause less of an impact on your life.
Here are some steps you can take to treat Lupus
  • Avoid direct sun – Protect your skin from the sun. Use strong sunscreen
  • Vitamin D – Avoiding the sun will reduce the amount of vitamin D your body received so try to supplement this.
  • (NSAIDs) – NON STEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS – ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac are commonly prescribed as good anti-inflammatory painkillers.
  • Anti-Malarials – These are of help in patients with skin and joint involvement and of some assistance with fatigue. The drugs may be sufficient for patients with moderately active lupus to avoid using steroids. Hydroxychloroquine has anti-inflammatory properties, some sun-protective features and gives some protection against clotting – mepacrine is also used.
  • Immunosuppressants – Types of medicine that suppress your immune system. They can help improve your symptoms of SLE by limiting the damage your immune system causes when it attacks healthy parts of your body.
  • Rituximab – This is a new medication only used in severe cases of SLE, originally designed to treat cancer it was found to have improved people who suffer autoimmune conditions like Lupus.
  • Belimumab – Belimumab is licensed for treating SLE in the UK and there may be instances where your specialist may consider it an appropriate treatment for you. This is a new medication.
  • Corticosteroids –  Are types of medicine that help reduce inflammation quickly. They can be very effective in treating symptoms of SLE but are usually only prescribed if the condition is severe or you’re experiencing a flare-up.

WARNING: MANY OF THE MEDICATION UNFORTUNATELY CAN HAVE SIDE AFFECT. YOU MUST SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE FROM YOUR DOCTOR OR GP BEFORE TRYING ANY OF THEM.

LIVING WITH LUPUS

Whilst some people can be severely affected when suffering from Lupus, some will only experience little or even no changes in their lifestyles. However, managing your condition is key to avoiding flare-ups.

  • Stress – Avoid stress and use relaxation techniques to relax. ( Some people use relaxation CDs like this one found on Amazon ) CLICK HERE
  • Rest – Your body needs rest to recover and fight the symptoms of Lupus. Easier said than done, we know but it’s very important to take time out and relax.
  • Avoid direct sun – Avoid direct sunlight and fluorescent lighting, both have a negative effect on your condition.
  • Talk – Talk about your condition to family, friends and work colleagues. This will really help.
  • Advice – Go see your Doctor or GP they are the specialist and will offer sensible treatment and help with structuring your lifestyle to help reduce the symptoms and avoid flare-ups.
  • Moisturize: Keep your skin moisturized by using a natural and organic cream. We have been recommended this one found on Amazon by one of our readers. CLICK HERE

( Thank you to Lupus UK for this awesome video)

HELPFUL CONTACTS

LUPUS UK: A National charity helping people with the presently incurable immune system illness lupus. We support some 6,000 members through our Regional Groups and advise many others on the symptoms prior to diagnosis. CLICK HERE TO VISIT THEIR SITE

NHS : UK Based national Health Service, visit their website on Lupus CLICK HERE

LUPUS FOUNDATION OF AMERICA: The Lupus Foundation of America is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world’s cruelest, most unpredictable, and devastating diseases while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. CLICK HERE

LUPUS RESEARCH: The worlds leading privately funded research group. CLICK HERE




 

SHARING IS CARING!

Our website, OurEczemaStory.com is built upon readers sharing their experiences to help others. If you would like to share your own story please feel free to read our GUEST BLOGS WANTED page and contact us. I can’t tell you how many people have emailed us to say our blogs have helped them. Just knowing you’re not alone and chatting with others in similar situations helps.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT OUR  ‘ GUEST BLOGS ‘ PAGE

READ THIS AMAZING BLOG ‘ ECZEMA AND DEPRESSION ‘ ALTHOUGH IT’S NOT WRITTEN  SPECIFICALLY ABOUT LUPUS, IT WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND HOW TO COPE WITH DEPRESSION CAUSED BY A SKIN CONDITION.