Lupus is an enigmatic illness that still stymies doctors. Read on to know a few things that you probably didn’t know about this autoimmune condition.
Lupus is a familiar name for anyone who watches the television show “House”. During the course of many episodes, as the doctors are bewildered while trying to diagnose mysterious illnesses, one of them will inevitably pipe in with the last resort diagnosis – “Maybe it’s lupus.” To this, Dr. House inevitably replies, “It’s never lupus.” So why is it never lupus? The symptoms of lupus can easily be mistaken for a whole host of other illnesses. Diagnosing lupus with any amount of certainty is a difficult task, and unfortunately, the privilege of introducing a miracle cure at the end of the episode does not exist as of right now. Known as the “great imitator” and the “invisible” disease, there are many things about lupus that medical science is still trying to figure out.
Let’s have a look at a few quick facts about the condition:
Lupus is a rare and complicated disease that frustrates physicians as well as the patients who have to live with it. You may or may not know these facts about this complex condition:
Prone to flare-ups wherein the signs and symptoms disappear before they exacerbate again, lupus is an autoimmune disorder which has symptoms that are vague, nonspecific, and variable. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, more than 5 million people across the world have lupus. This number is an underestimation because most cases are not diagnosed correctly, and there are no large-scale studies to show the exact number of people with the condition.
Generally referred to as SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), lupus manifests itself in the form of a number of signs and symptoms. These include nausea, muscle aches, fever, vomiting, weight loss, joint pain, etc. As you can see, these symptoms are very vague and generic, and this is what often leads to a wrong diagnosis. In many cases, these generic symptoms are explained off by the patients and not taken seriously. Inevitably, this leads to exacerbation of the symptoms and internal damage that is often irreversible.
The disease triggers the symptoms, right? While this is true, the strange thing about lupus is that there are a few other things that might force the disease out of remission and trigger painful symptoms. SLE can be triggered by infections such as mononucleosis as it activates the immune system even more. Another common trigger that can be very problematic for patients is sunlight. Patients with lupus need to avoid sunlight as much as possible because sunlight triggers their disease. This results in a worsened condition due to symptom flare-ups. For someone who loves going hiking or wants to spend time on the beach, having lupus could mean saying goodbye to these pursuits for good.
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