Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lupus In Depth

Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body's immune system attacks your own tissues and organs.  Inflammation from lupus can affect many different organ systems, including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs.  Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments.  Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus that can be triggered by infections, certain drugs, and even sunlight.  No two cases of lupus are exactly alike.  Most people have flares or episodes of it.  Symptoms include, but are not limited to, fatigue, fever, joint pain, butterfly-shaped rash on the face, skin lesions that worsen with sun exposure, shortness of breath, chest pains, headache, and memory loss.  Make sure to see a physician if you develop an unexplained rash, ongoing fever, or persistent aching and fatigue.  Blood and urine tests are a major diagnostic tool in recognizing this disease.  These tests include, but are not limited to, kidney and liver assessment, complete blood count (CBC), and a urinalysis.  Chest x-rays and an echocardiogram (ECG) are also used in diagnosing lupus.  Treatments include: nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), anti-malarial drugs, corticosteriods, and immune suppressants.  Stay Informed!  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lupus/DS00115

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