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Lupus Explained

It’s a scary diagnosis to receive. Much of that fear stems from the unknown. Though most people have heard the term lupus, there are many who do not truly understand the implications of it.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which is to say that the body’s main line of defense against illness is affected. The immune system is designed to protect the body from harmful invaders – this could be in the form of bacteria, viruses, allergens, etcetera. However, when this part of the body is afflicted with conditions like lupus, it does not decipher between the healthy and the harmful correctly. As a result, the body begins to attack itself.

In some cases, lupus is very mild and will be rather easily managed, but in other instances, it can get very severe and even become fatal. It is far more prominent in women, with ninety percent of sufferers being female, but can affect people at nearly any age. The majority of diagnosed individuals fall in the age range of ten to fifty years old.

Though symptoms may vary, most patients report some combination of chest pain, fatigue, fever, malaise, hair loss, mouth sores, sensitivity to sunlight, skin rash, and swollen lymph nodes. It is also common for individuals diagnosed with lupus to report headaches, numbness or pain in the arms or legs, personality change, psychosis, and vision problems if the disease attacks the brain and nervous system. In other situations, the digestive tract, heart, kidney, lungs, or even the skin can be sought after by the ill-acting immune system.

There are tests that can be run to confirm a diagnosis of lupus, so if you feel that you may be suffering these symptoms, it is highly suggested that you seek the opinion of a doctor as soon as possible.

Read the full article at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001471/

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