Lupus: Information you need about the incurable disease common in women

Kemi Afolabi

Kemi Afolabi

Lupus is back in the news. The publicity this time derives from the revelation made by popular Nollywood actress Kemi Afolabi.

The actress said her doctor told her she will only live for five years after being diagnosed with the incurable disease.

This made it necessary for PM News to do some findings and educate our readers on Lupus.

What is Lupus?

Lupus is a disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs (autoimmune disease).

The disease is more common in Africans, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans.

It is common in women, affects people of all ages but is mostly diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 45.

Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs.

The sad part is that the disease has no cure but treatments can help control symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Lupus?

The common signs and symptoms include Fatigue, Fever, Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.

Others include a butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose or rashes elsewhere on the body, skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure, fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods, Shortness of breath, Chest pain, Dry eyes, Headaches, confusion, memory loss, and hair loss.

Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments.

However, it is better to quickly see the doctor when there is unexplained rash, ongoing fever, persistent aching, or fatigue.

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It appears that people with an inherited predisposition for lupus may develop the disease when they come into contact with something in the environment that can trigger lupus.

The cause of lupus in most cases, however, is unknown. Some potential triggers include:

Sunlight: Exposure to the sun may bring on lupus skin lesions or trigger an internal response in susceptible people.

Infections: Having an infection can initiate lupus or cause a relapse in some people.

Medications: Lupus can be triggered by certain types of blood pressure medications, anti-seizure medications, and antibiotics.

People who have drug-induced lupus usually get better when they stop taking the medication. Rarely, symptoms may persist even after the drug is stopped.

Having lupus also increases your risk of

Infection: People with lupus are more vulnerable to infection because both the disease and its treatments can weaken the immune system.

Cancer: Having lupus appears to increase your risk of cancer; however, the risk is small.

Bone tissue death: This occurs when the blood supply to a bone declines, often leading to tiny breaks in the bone and eventually to the bone’s collapse.

Pregnancy complications: Women with lupus have an increased risk of miscarriage.

Lupus increases the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy and preterm birth. To reduce the risk of these complications, doctors often recommend delaying pregnancy until your disease has been under control for at least six months.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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