5 Lupus Questions (With Answers!)

What is Lupus?

Lupus refers to a number of systemic diseases that results from an autoimmune mechanism. People who suffer from lupus disease will produce antibodies that attack their own body tissues. This is why it is sometimes called the enemy within. The most dangerous and common type of lupus disease is Systemic lupus Erythematosus (SLE), which can affect and damage any of the body’s organs such as skin, liver, kidney, joints, blood vessels, brain, blood, and nervous system. The second most common type of lupus disease is Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE), which only affects skin.

What are the symptoms of Lupus?

The signs and symptoms of DLE are a skin rash and scaly sores appearing on the face, neck, and chest. The symptoms of SLE lupus will be specific to the part of the body affected, although usually the rash is also present, and can often be misdiagnosed as a different disease.

The other major sign and symptom of lupus, common to both SLE and DLE, is a chronic inflammation in various parts of the body. This causes free radicals to be released, reactive molecules with unpaired electrons that reek havoc amongst healthy cells in the body. Free-radicals are extremely destructive and so increase the severity of lupus symptoms, causing more discomfort to sufferers. Crucially, the symptoms of lupus are not the same in all sufferers, and can change with time. This makes the correct diagnosis of lupus, by a physician, essential.

What lupus treatment is available?

Because of the range of causes and parts of the body affected, treatment is usually restricted to the symptoms of lupus, rather than dealing with the disease itself. The treatment of lupus, when diagnosed, often starts with corticosteroids. Patients are also usually asked to look out for flare-ups and at the first sign start using a stronger sunscreen. It is also possible that the symptoms of lupus are caused by allergies, so these need to be identified to avoid flare-ups.

Are there any natural remedies for the treatment of lupus diseases?

Doctors will usually always advise a vitamin and mineral supplement along with conventional medication. Calcium, folic acid and vitamin D, help strengthen bones and skin, allowing the body to better withstand the symptoms of lupus disease. The treatment of lupus can also include relaxation techniques, as reduced stress levels is itself an effective treatment for flare-ups and skin rashes.

Is there any other support out there?

The Lupus Foundation of America spends a lot of time researching lupus disease, its causes, treatment, and prevention. It funds research for the development of experimental prototypes and new approaches. Even junior investigators are given grants for 2 years in order to help find a cure or natural remedy. At the moment, general scientific knowledge of the autoimmune system is not very strong, and so treatment is still restricted to addressing the symptoms of lupus disease only.