What is Lupus?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


Being an autoimmune disease, its main characteristic is that the patient’s immune system suffers from a dysfunction in which it ignores its own organs and tissues, attacking them and causing severe inflammation in various organs, such as the lungs, heart, kidney, brain, skin, and joints, among others.

As lupus has varied symptoms that can be confused with other conditions, its diagnosis is difficult, although the distinctive feature, which is usually exclusive to it, is a reddish rash on the cheeks in the shape of wings.This peculiarity is common in multiple cases, but it does not necessarily appear in all of them, so the latter are the ones that entail the greatest diagnostic difficulties.

There is a genetic predisposition to develop the disease, which can be activated by intense sun exposure, severe infections, or by some drugs.

Lupus is not curable, so the treatment seeks to control the symptoms, minimize complications, and provide a better quality of life for the patient.

Signs and symptoms Lupus

Symptoms are wide and variable.Depending on the case, the symptoms may appear suddenly, gradually, or even disappear for a while.Also, it can be mild to severe.

Although the symptoms vary according to the affected organs, these are the most frequent:

  • Skin rash on the face whose shape resembles wings or a rash on various body areas that becomes more serious when exposed to sunlight.
  • Headaches, mental confusion, and memory problems.
  • Inflammation and pain in the joints.
  • Tiredness and weakness.
  • High fever.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Tightness and pain in the chest.
  • Eye dryness.
  • White or bluish coloration in the fingers and toes.

If you notice any of these symptoms, see your doctor to have a timely diagnosis and start early treatment in order to minimize any damage and possible complications.

Diagnosis and treatment Lupus

Once the doctor analyzes your symptoms and your medical history, a series of necessary tests are required to confirm the diagnosis.

Within the laboratory tests, urine and blood tests are required such as blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, liver and kidney function, antibody test, and a general urine test.

Also, when there is suspicion of heart or lung damage, imaging studies such as X-rays and cardiac ultrasound will be necessary.

If it is considered essential to know an organ’s degree of involvement, your doctor will indicate the procedure to obtain a tissue biopsy of the organ in question.

Although the treatment to be followed depends on the specific case and symptoms, the most frequently used medications are:

  • Immunosuppressants: used to reduce the immune system’s ability to stop the most serious lupus crises, with liver failure, risk of developing cancer, infertility, and recurrent infections as possible sequelae.
  • Corticosteroids: efficient in reducing inflammation, but with side effects, such as the possible development of high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, overweight, and recurrent infections.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: they relieve pain and swelling and act as antipyretics, although their extended use can cause kidney, gastrointestinal, and cardiac effects.
  • Antimalarials: they weaken the immune system, which helps prevent lupus crises, but contribute to the development of infections, gastrointestinal and eye problems.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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