Lupus, or Lupus erythematosus, is a category of the diseases with similar immune problems. Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease distinguished by acute and chronic inflammatory processes in various tissues of the body. Lupus is chronic autoimmune connective tissue disease in which body fails to distinguish its own cells and foreign bodies.
What happens in Lupus, as in any other auto immune disorder, is that body mistakes its own tissues for foreign bodies, and attacks in order to destroy them. Body reacts by producing abnormal quantities of antibodies ant targets tissues anywhere in the body. People suffering from lupus may thus experience health problems with skin, heart, kidneys, lungs, joints or nervous system.
There are two chief types of lupus distinguished by the affected tissues. If the lupus remains on the surface of the skin, without internal disease, the condition is known as discoid lupus. If the inflammation affects internal organs, the condition is known as systematic lupus erythematosus.
Lupus affects both men and women of all races, but some portions of population are at the higher risk of developing this disease. For yet unknown reason, women are more prone to develop Lupus. This serious health condition affects people of all ages, but the population between the ages of 15 and 40 is at increased risk.
It is more common in black, Hispanic and Asian people. Other known risk factors include: exposure to sun, long-term use of particular prescription drugs, and exposure to certain chemicals. Other not yet fully understood risk factor is the infection with Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis. It seems like that recurrent Epstein-Barr infections tend to increase the risk of developing lupus.
Symptoms of Lupus in women
People with Lupus may have many different signs and symptoms of the disease. Most of the symptoms are not characteristic only for Lupus, and the final diagnosis can be obtained only by a careful long term monitoring and blood analysis. In most of the patients symptoms of the disease are not always present. The symptoms rather come and go in periodic episodes.
Most commonly, women suffering from Lupus will complain about painful and swollen joints. A feeling of stiffness may also be present so that the disease is often mistaken for arthritis. Great majority of women patients will develop characteristic butterfly shaped rash on the face. The rash may also appear on legs and arms, lasting from couple of days to couple of months.
Women may also develop increased photosensitivity. Excessive exposure to sunlight may often trigger skin rash in patients. On the other hand, low blood circulation, as one of the symptoms, will cause increased receptiveness to cold.
Generalized inflammation of the body will cause many different signs and symptoms, depending on which part of the body is affected, fever and persistent feeling of tiredness. If any of the strange symptoms is present, woman should consult a doctor at once.