Systemic lupus erythematosus is basically a disease that affects the immune system. In this disease the immune system of an individual attacks the different cells and organs in the body and this causes a great deal of damage. This disease can affect a number of different organs and tissues in the body. Many patients may suffer from a milder version of lupus while some others may suffer from some complications.
With systemic lupus erythematosus the condition has periods where the activity and symptoms associated with the disease are at a minimum level while in other cases there may be flare ups. Genes play a role in the development of this condition. Environmental factors can also determine the development of this disease in people. Sun exposure, some drugs and toxins can worsen the rash that is observed in lupus. Estrogen is also one of the factors that may be related to the development of this problem.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is marked by symptoms such as fever, fatigue along with joint pain. The fever experienced in lupus is often low grade and the symptoms may be flu like. Muscle pain and joint swelling along with pain is commonly experienced with lupus. Pain of the joints in areas like the knees, hand and wrists is commonly experienced.
The lupus rash which can be observed in the form of redness on cheeks can become aggravated due to sun exposure. People suffering from lupus also tend to experience hair loss. Inflammation in the sac that holds the heart may also be observed and this is called pericarditis. Lupus also results in kidney problems in some cases. In some cases lung problems may also be experienced
With systemic lupus erythematosus people may also experience chest pain along with shortness in breath. Many lupus patients also tend to develop mouth and nose ulcers. The abdominal lining may also develop inflammation and the intestines may also experience infection.
While diagnosing systemic lupus erythematosus physicians keep in mind 11 criteria for evaluation and classification. For diagnosis of lupus individual must satisfy 4 and more of the criteria. The butterfly shaped rash or malar rash as it is called can also help in diagnosing this condition. A patient is also evaluated for photosensitivity, oral ulcers, kidney problems, arthritis, blood disorders, immunological disorders and neurological disorders.
Some tests that can be conducted for the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus include antinuclear antibody test, blood tests and X rays along with biopsy of skin and kidney if needed. The treatment for this condition may include taking immunosuppressive drugs and anti malarial drugs. Some other anti inflammatory drugs may also be taken.
Lupus patients suffering from skin rashes should wear protective clothing and use sun blocking agents. Likewise it is important to make changes in the lifestyle so as to ensure that the problems associated with this condition do not become worse. Patients also have to take care of their diet as following a poor diet plan can result in the condition becoming worse.