Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that causes our immune system “to make a mistake” and to have difficulty distinguishing foreign particles (known as antigens) from their own cells or tissues.
When a patient has lupus, their body produces autoantibodies (antibody against itself) that end up joining the antigens, and subsequently cause damage that can be severe in different tissues of the patient.
We are facing a systemic disease
Lupus is a systemic disease that can affect the skin, joints, heart, kidneys, lungs and other body tissues, although most patients suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus only have their skin and joints affected.
In terms of the type of people that can be affected by lupus, we must remember that women are at higher risk than men.
Symptoms and diagnosis of lupus
The symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus are characterised by:
• Pain or swelling in joints
• Frequent muscle aches
• Fever of unknown origin
• Red rashes, which usually appear in the face, shaped like “butterfly wings”
Furthermore, it is also quite common for the patient to get worse after a night’s sleep, as well as feeling some stiffness first thing in the morning. To improve these symptoms there are specific exercises that help reduce stiffness faster. Fortunately, in most cases of systemic lupus erythematosus, the functionality of the joints is kept in good condition throughout the years.
The diagnosis of lupus is far more complex than we have seen reflected on some famous TV series over the years. To confirm the existence of systemic lupus erythematosus, it can take months or years and an enormous amount of medical evidence.
Although there is no cure for lupus, the combination of different drugs (reducing the side effects of each one of them) and changing some habits can greatly improve the patient’s quality of life.
Experiencing lupus first hand
At Best Doctors, we have had the opportunity to talk with the family and friends of a lupus patient, a fact that has provided us with a more personal appreciation of a chronic disease, which you can live with thanks to a positive attitude of the patient and their relatives.
Nowadays, a lupus patient may be active and engage in sports such as skiing, swimming and running (activities which, in principle, are not very compatible with lupus due to the overloading on joints). Being active is possible thanks to the awareness of the disease, responsibility and the use of appropriate clothing.
At Best Doctors, we know that the attitude and commitment of the patient is crucial in supporting any medical treatment. We encourage you to familiarise yourself with any disease you may have by way of an accurate diagnosis, as well as always surrounding yourself with the best possible medical team.
If necessary, count on us, the best medical team in the world.