Lupus is an autoimmune disease, and like other autoimmune diseases, the immune system starts to recognize and attack itself, regardless of whether the tissue is healthy or not. And while it isn’t hard to imagine that complications can arise when one’s body attacks itself, it does beg the question as to how lupus affects the body differently than other such diseases. For while we certainly know of lupus, it is often difficult to diagnose, if not completely misdiagnosed.
Lupus, like most diseases, has a physical and mental component, and while the mental component can vary heavily from patient to patient, the physical ramifications are more of a set standard. No two lupus patients are alike, nor will their symptoms be; however, by understanding how this disease manifests itself physically, you will gain a deeper insight into those afflicted, as well as the peace of mind in knowing what to be on the lookout for.
The Brain & Nervous System: Lupus can affect both the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) as well as the peripheral nervous system. This can cause headaches, depression, mood swings, cognitive dysfunction (AKA brain fog), and even stroke and seizures.
The Eyes: With lupus, eye complications can include dry, itchy eyes; blocked tear ducts; cataracts, blurred vision, impaired vision and even vision loss. This normally is in relation to inflammatory nature of lupus, however, it could also be the result of certain drug treatments.
The Skin: There are three major skin disease types that are specific to lupus. These include Discoid Lupus, Subacute Cutaneous Lupus, and Acute Cutaneous Lupus. These appear in the form of rashes, among which is the well-known “butterfly” rash which appears across the face.
The Blood: Research states that approximately 50 percent of patients with active lupus also have anemia. In other cases, some patients may develop leukopenia (an abnormally low level of white blood cells) or thrombocytopenia (decreased number of platelets that aid in blood clotting) or thrombosis which can cause very dangerous blood clots.
The Heart & Lungs: Cardiovascular disease is a very common symptom of lupus and is the number one cause of death in people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Of those with SLE, 50 percent will experience lung complications throughout the course of their disease. Among these complications includes pleuritis (inflammation of the membrane lining of the lungs), acute lupus pneumonitis, chronic (fibrotic) lupus pneumonitis, pulmonary hypertension, and “shrinking lung” syndrome.
The Kidneys: Research suggests that nearly 40 percent of all lupus patients and two-thirds of all children with lupus will develop kidney complications that require treatment. When this occurs, it is known as lupus nephritis.
These are just a few of the ways that lupus can impact a person’s body; none of which are pleasant. However, it is only through awareness that early detection and, in turn, treatment can be had. In the next short while we will release part 2 and go in depths as to the other ways that lupus can affect the body as well as what you can do to find relief.Advertisement