Six Body Parts that Can Be Affected by Lupus
About 1.5 million people in the U.S. live with lupus. This number is three times that of the 1970s. The number of incidences has tripled over the past few decades, and medical researchers and scientists don't even know the cause of this disease. There are various forms of lupus, but the most common is systematic lupus erythematosus. In lupus patients, the immune system can’t differentiate between healthy tissues and foreign invaders, and so the immune system attacks the healthy tissues. This attack on healthy tissues causes pain and inflammation in various parts of the body.
Lupus is a complex disease that is affects around 1.5 million people in the United States alone, and this number continues to rise. The immune systems of patients who suffer from lupus are unable to distinguish between foreign invaders and healthy tissues, leading to an attack on those healthy tissues. This can then cause pain as well as inflammation in certain parts of the body. Each lupus patient experiences symptoms differently. The symptoms are also known to vary, from a mild rash on the skin to pain and aches in the joints. If this condition is not detected in a timely manner, it can worsen and cause damage to the organs. Lupus patients are known to have various problems when this condition starts attacking a particular part of the body. Let us have a look at those parts:
- Heart and lungs: Lupus patients are prone to higher risks of heart disease or stroke, and this mostly happens due to persistent inflammation in the body. Many times, it has been seen that even the use of certain lupus medications can lead to increased damage to the heart and lungs. Lupus can also cause inflammation of the outer lining of the lungs. An individual may feel pain while breathing. Because of this, one should eat healthy, exercise regularly, stop smoking and/or drinking alcohol, and manage their weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
- Skin: Some patients are extremely sensitive to exposure to ultraviolet rays since it can cause a number of changes in the skin. One of the most common skin problems is a rash on the cheeks or nose that takes on the shape of a butterfly. Other skin problems include sores on the mouth or nose, alopecia, and the fingers or toes turning white when it is extremely cold.
- Kidneys: Lupus can lead to inflammation in the kidneys, causing permanent damage. This in turn can lead to high blood pressure and swelling of the legs, so, if there are any symptoms of kidney problems, one should inform the doctor and get them checked. In such cases, regular check-ups are a must to ensure that the kidneys are working properly.
- Brain and the central nervous system: The nerves present in the spinal cord and brain can be affected in multiple ways, which can cause patients to suffer from persistent headaches, seizures, strokes (although rare), anxiety attacks, confusion, and loss of memory. So, one should avoid stress and practice yoga or some other calming activity.
- Eyes: Dryness of the eyes can be caused by lupus. At times, the changes in the retina can lead to weakening of one’s vision. Although rare, lupus can cause damage to the muscle nerves of the eyes (these are the ones that control eye movement).
- Joints and muscles: Lupus can lead to swelling of the joints, stiffness, and significant pain. These symptoms can be felt mostly in the wrists, feet, and hands. Lupus can also affect the muscles, thereby causing weakness.