General Aspects of Lupus
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that can cause a wide range of dysfunctions inside the organism. Lupus involves abnormal activity of the immune system, causing it to attack the healthy blood cells of the body instead of protecting them from external infectious agents. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus can determine various disorders, affecting the skin, heart, kidneys, lungs, musculoskeletal system, nervous system and brain.
Lupus has a pronounced chronic character and patients with the disease need ongoing medical treatment. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus can be a life-threatening disease and in spite of a slight decrease of patientsí mortality rate, Lupus continues to make a lot of victims. For some people, the disease evolves rapidly, in which case it can even cause death. For other people with Lupus, the disease evolves slowly and it may only affect some parts of the body, such as the skin and musculoskeletal system, without perturbing the normal activity of the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys or the gastrointestinal tract. The evolution of Lupus is very unpredictable and although patients may experience an amelioration of the disease for short periods of time, the disease can suddenly aggravate.
Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus require both medical treatment for controlling their dysfunctional immune system (immunosuppressant medications), and for overcoming the diseases generated by Lupus. People with Lupus are very susceptible to bacterial infections and need continuous medical treatment with antibiotics. Many patients with Lupus also suffer from lung disease (tuberculosis, pneumonia) and cardio-vascular diseases and need medical treatments with antihypertensive medications and anti-inflammatory drugs. Although there are various medical therapies and treatments available nowadays, patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus can be affected by the disease for their entire lifetimes. The evolution and the chronic character of Lupus resemble HIV, both involving dysfunctions of the immune system and high susceptibility to other diseases.
Statistics indicate that there are around 2 million people diagnosed with Lupus each year. An estimated 90 percent of the affected people are women. For some reason, Lupus has the highest incidence in young women and many of them develop the disease after puberty. The disease also occurs in infants, very young children and elderly people. African American and Asian women are far more exposed to developing Lupus than white women. Research results indicate that the incidence of Lupus in black women is up to 3 times higher than in white women. Asian and Hispanic women are usually affected by Lupus at a young age and experience more pronounced forms of the disease.
Lupus is a serious disease and it can generate a wide range of symptoms. Although there are many forms of treatment available in modern medicine, Lupus canít be effectively and permanently overcome. The disease has a pronounced chronic character and most patients with Lupus experience an alternation between periods of remission and exacerbation of their symptoms. Lupus has an unpredictable evolution and choosing the most appropriate treatment for patients with the disease is a very challenging task for doctors.
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