Healthy Living

Lupus: Its Complications and How It Affects Your Life

Lupus: Its Complications and How It Affects Your Life

Key Takeaways

  • Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects all systems of the body.
  • 80% to 90% of patients can live a normal and healthy life with treatment.
  • Kidneys are the most common organs affected by lupus.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects all systems of the body. While lupus produces mild symptoms on a fraction of the patients, it produces severe symptoms on others. The most severe forms of lupus can lead to organ failure.

In the past, when medical knowledge was not much developed, many people died young owing to kidney failure; however, today, with the advancement of medicine, 80% to 90% of patients can live a normal and healthy life with treatment.

Lupus causes inflammation of the organs producing symptoms. Time to time flares of the disease show up, making the symptoms much worse. However, with medication and lifestyle changes, the flares can be controlled.

How does lupus affect your kidneys?

Kidneys are the most common organs affected by lupus. Continuous inflammation of the kidneys can cause long-term damage to the kidneys. Once the kidney tissue is damaged and scarred, it begins to lose its function; thus, leading to renal failure. Early symptoms include swelling of the lower limbs, high blood pressure, increased frequency of urination, urine darkening, or blood in urine. If you take the right medications and adapt to a lupus-friendly lifestyle, this fatal damage can be minimized.

Lupus and its risk to the heart

The heart is the next common organ affected by lupus. It causes inflammation of the heart tissue increasing the risk of heart attacks and arterial diseases. This can occur even in young people.

The brain and lupus

Inflammationn of the brain tissue will produce symptoms like headaches, mental problems, memory loss, poor concentration, mood swings, and depression.

The lungs

The inflammation of the lining of the lungs is called pleuritis. This causes pain during breathing, a condition called as pleuritic type of chest pain.

Lupus, not only affects the lining of the lungs, but it can also affect the lung tissue, the surrounding blood vessels, and even the diaphragm. Involvement of the lung tissue may lead to scarring and shrinking of the lungs. This is known as the vanishing or shrinking lung syndrome.

Joints

Joints are commonly affected by lupus. It causes pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints, especially the small joints of the hands. Lupus patients often wake up with the pain and stiffness of the joints. Unlike with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus arthritic pain tends to remain constant throughout the day.

More prone to develop infections

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, meaning, your immune system begins to attack your own cells as they find it difficult to distinguish between self from non-self cells. With this in mind, lupus treatment focuses on preventing your immune system from attacking your own body cells. Therefore, your immune system will not be active even when a foreign body enters the body. This is a good environment for the organisms, which causes infection in you very easily.

These dangerous and sometimes life-threatening complications can be easily prevented with the right medication and lifestyle modification.