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What exactly is lupus and how can it be recognized?

Lupus is an autoimmune inflammatory disease, in which thebody’s immune system begins to attack its own healthy tissues and organs, whichfurther results in inflammation, swelling and damage to joints, skin and otherorgans and systems. This condition is chronic in nature, and although thereasons are not really clear, it seems to be more typical of females than males.Also, females of African-American origin are likely to experience more serioussymptoms and the mortality rate is higher in their cases. There are four differenttypes of this disease, and they are:

systemic lupus erythematosus,discoid lupus erythematosus,drug-induced lupus erythematosus andneonatal lupus.

Each type affects different system of the body. Even though the symptoms depend on the body system that isaffected, and they differ from case to case, generally, those that indicatethis disease include fever, change in weight, pain, stiffness and swelling injoints, mouth sores and rash on the face, skin lesions, and shortness of breath. Besidesthese symptoms, people with this condition may experience dry eyes, easy bruising,pain in the chest, and even depression or the loss of memory.

Why does it occur and can it be treated?

As for the causes, given that it is an autoimmune disease,it means that the cause is usually impossible to determine. It is very possiblethat it has something to do with genetics and the environment, and many doctorsbelieve that people tend to inherit predisposition to this condition, and notthe condition itself. The disease can be triggered by various factors later,among which the most common are smoking, exposure to sunlight and UV rays, andexposure to certain chemicals, infections, smoking or even medications, particularlythose that contain penicillin.

As for the cure, even though it has not been discovered sofar, there are ways in which the symptoms may be treated successfully and keptunder control. This means that the treatment also depends on the type of lupusand on the symptoms experienced and their severity. Generally, medications thatmay be used in the treatment are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,antimalar drugs and corticosteroids. Aggressive lupus, which refers to thosecases that are life threatening, is usually treated with high-dosecorticosteroids, which are taken either orally or intravenously, and withimmunosuppressive drugs. It is also important to mention that there arenumerous clinical trials that are being done in order to find even moreeffective methods of treatment.

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