Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that primarily affects women of childbearing age, although it can also affect men and people of all ages.
In lupus, the body's immune system, which normally protects the body from infection and disease, becomes overactive and attacks healthy body tissues and organs, causing inflammation and damage. Although it is not known exactly what causes it, it is believed that it may be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Symptoms can vary widely and can affect different parts of the body, such as the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain.
Some of the more common symptoms include:
- Joint and muscle pain
- Skin rash
- Hair loss
- Neurological symptoms such as dizziness and memory problems.
It is a chronic disease with no cure, but treatments can help control symptoms and prevent serious complications. Treatments may include medications to reduce inflammation and immune system activity, as well as to control specific symptoms. It may also help to make lifestyle changes, such as avoiding sun exposure, eating a healthy diet, getting regular rest and exercise.
How is lupus diagnosed?
Diagnosing lupus is difficult because the signs and symptoms vary greatly from person to person. The signs and symptoms of lupus can change over time and coincide with those of many other disorders. The diagnosis is based on the symptoms reported by the patient, the physical and analytical examination. In blood tests it is common for the number of leukocytes, lymphocytes and platelets to be lower than normal.
There are no precise data on the global prevalence of lupus, as it is a disease that is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. However, according to the European League Against Lupus, it is estimated that there are between 5 and 50 cases of lupus per 100,000 people in Europe. In the United States, an estimated 322,000 to 1,500,000 people have lupus.
Early diagnosis and treatment for lupus is important, as it can cause serious complications such as kidney damage, heart disease, neurological problems, and blood clots.
A rheumatologist is the specialist indicated to give the diagnosis to those who suffer from lupus, as well as the respective treatment to treat diseases of the muscles and joints. In the same way, it is important to know that lupus can affect various parts of the body, apart from having a diagnosis by a rheumatologist, it is most likely that you will need the support of doctors specialized in other areas of health such as a dermatologist, cardiologist, nephrologist. , gastroenterologist, neurologist and pulmonologist.
Although there is no cure for lupus, most people with the disease can lead active lives with proper treatment. It is essential to work with a team of health professionals to develop a treatment plan that addresses your individual needs and to ensure that all medical recommendations are followed.