On this World Lupus Day, let’s take a look at this chronic autoimmune disease that affects the vast majority of women and whose diagnosis may eventually take a long time to establish.
The term “lupus” means wolf in Latin and refers to one of the characteristic signs of this disease: on the skin of the face forms a kind of erythematous mask that resembles a wolf’s head. This is often the first visible clinical manifestation of the disease mainly affects young women : nine women for one man, aged 15 and 44, according to data from the Lupus Reference Center of the Pitié Salpêtrière University Hospital Group in Paris.
Rarely, this disease is most effective because it affects about 30,000 people in France. If it causes skin damage before all, it can affect the joints and internal organs, such as the reins. Hence the importance of early detection, to propose a treatment that allows the stabilization of this disease. The more you care about these heterogeneous symptoms, the errance diagnosis can take several years.
What is lupus?
Le lupus is one autoimmune disease : this means that the immune defenses normally intended to fight only the external elements, such as bacteria or viruses, “turn” against the body’s cells and attack it. The organism then produces harmful defense molecules, called autoantibodies, which cause important, inflammatory and enticing reactions of the self-destruction of certain skin tissues, joints, reins, etc. The most common form of lupus is called “systemic”: the disease affects several organs.
How does the disease start?
“Several factors (environmental, hormonal and genetic) are likely to be involved,” according to Orphanet, a rare disease information site. In addition, “because lupus often affects women of childbearing potential, it may have a link between lupus and female hormones.” It is likely that some people have well-known genes that are susceptible to disease. A viral infection, stress, or sun exposure “can trigger lupus, or rather” wake it up “through a mechanism that is still unknown.”
How is lupus treated?
Le lupus evolve par poussées: the disease is then active with various symptoms, then comes the remission phase which can last several weeks to several months. Nowadays, there is no treatment step that allows you to cure lupus, several combinations of drugs can stabilize the disease. These combinations depend on the symptoms of each disease and the course of lupus. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed to relieve pain, but are generally insufficient. Among the most commonly prescribed medications are treatments based on corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, or synthetic antimalarials, such as hydroxychloroquine.
How do you live with lupus?
When lupus has been diagnosed, medical surveillance is performed to monitor the progress of the disease and the adaptation of treatments. On a daily basis, it is advisable to quit smoking and smoke, protect yourself well from the sun and engage in physical activity during the remission phases. If you want to have a baby, talk to your doctor about it: If you have lupus, your pregnancy should be planned. “It is recommended that it be started only after 6 to 12 months of lupus remission,” said the Medicare website. Outside of the periods of outbursts, which are very difficult, and thanks to the treatments, people with lupus can live an almost normal life.
A notary: According to the Lupus Reference Center, the disease most often affects “certain ethnic subgroups, such as African American or Asian subjects.”