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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), also called lupus, is a serious and sometimes life-threatening inflammatory disease. Lupus is a chronic disease with no cure that causes your immune system to attack its own organs and tissues. It can be anywhere from mild to severe with some individual experiencing it on their skin, which is visible to others while others get more damage internally. It can affect your heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, joints, skin and blood cells. Lupus is one of the most difficult diseases to diagnose since all the symptoms of the disease point to many other medical conditions and diseases. It will take a variety of tests and although there is no cure, treatments are available.

Causes and Risk Factors of Lupus

There isnt a known single cause for lupus, though doctors do know it occurs when you have an immune system that attacks your own body, specifically your healthy tissues. This can occur externally with your skin or internally with your brain, heart and other internal organs. There are triggers for lupus that increase your chance of developing the disease such as smoking cigarettes, being exposed to chemicals, exposure to the sun and taking medications like those for high blood pressure. Other risk factors include being female, being over the age of 15 and being Hispanic, Asian or African American. It can also be genetic and passed down from your mother.

Signs, Symptoms and Testsof Lupus

Lupus is extremely difficult to diagnose properly because the sign and symptoms are so similar to other medical conditions and diseases. However there is a long list of symptoms that people with lupus typically experience. They include: chest pain, tiredness, fever without other symptoms or causes, an overall ill feeling, losing your hair, sores in your mouth, light sensitivity, skin rashes in a butterfly along your cheeks and nose and lymph nodes that are swollen. There are also additional symptoms of lupus which depend on what area of your body is being affected by the disease. For example, lupus of the brain might cause seizures, tingling, numbness or headaches. Additionally symptoms of lupus are arrhythmias, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, patchy coloration in your skin and discoloration in your fingers if they get too cold.

People with only skin symptoms have a type of lupus referred to as discoid lupus. In order to be diagnosed with lupus, you must have a certain amount of the common symptoms of the disease. A wide number of tests are performed to diagnose lupus including antibody tests, complete blood count (CBC), kidney biopsy, x-rays and a urinalysis.

Treatment, Drugs and Preventionof Lupus

There is currently no cure for lupus and only treatments to treat underlying causes or side effects are available. The sooner your doctors diagnose lupus; the better off you will be, so seek an exam from a medical professional immediately. Once you have signs of lupus, you should call your doctor and go through the tests in order to get treatment sooner.

To start mild, mild cases of lupus can be treated with medications like corticosteroid cream or anti-inflammatory medications for joint pain and arthritis. Because of light and sun sensitivity, you should protect your skin with sunscreen and protective clothing. Additional treatment includes cyotoxic medications, immunizations, continued tests like tests for osteoporosis, preventative care of your heart and other organs.

Home treatment includes getting plenty of rest, eating right and getting regular exercise. Unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking and doing drugs have been known to worsen lupus. Avoid these bad habits and commit to living a healthy lifestyle. Lupus is best treated when you catch it early so pay attention to your symptoms and contact your doctor for diagnosis.