Lupus is a worldwide autoimmune illness that affects over 4 million people. Although individuals of all ages can develop this illness, it usually affects women between the ages of 15 and 44. The topic of lupus can sometimes be a scary one, especially if the parties involved are not too versed in the illness. In this article, we hope to shed some light on lupus and how it can affect the body.
Lupus occurs when a person’s immune system attacks healthy tissue within their body, causing inflammation and chronic pain. Although it can occur in any part of the human body, the Mayo Clinic states that it usually occurs in an individual’s joints, skin, or internal organs.
There are various ways for someone to develop lupus, such as through genetics, hormones, and even the environment. Another aspect of this illness that’s worth noting is the way it can affect the nervous system. In Layman’s terms, the nervous system is a structure within your body where “messages” are sent to and from the brain and spinal cord to other parts of the body.
There are three parts to a nervous system, the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, and the autonomic nervous system, and any time any one of these systems are affected, it can wreak havoc on a person’s body.
When lupus affects the nervous system, you may notice a person’s mood begin to change or they have trouble concentrating. Some people may even experience more life-threatening symptoms, like strokes or seizures.
There are a myriad of symptoms that a person with lupus can experience, and it’s important to note that one person’s symptoms may look completely different from another person’s. Health experts say that it’s beneficial for a person to understand the symptoms that accompany lupus in order to detect any early signs of this autoimmune ailment.
Symptoms of lupus can include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Sensitivity to light
- Hair loss
- Chest pain
To see an extended list of lupus symptoms, we recommend visiting Lupus.org.
Although there is currently no cure for lupus, there are ways that a person can reduce “flare ups.” Everyday Health recommends that the first way is by staying on top of doctor visits and informing your physician of any changes in your health. Also, continue taking any prescribed medications that your doctor has given you unless stated otherwise.
Furthermore, a person should limit sunlight exposure as much as possible, and be sure to wear sunscreen of at least SPF 70. If you would like additional ways to reduce lupus flare ups, be sure to visit the Everyday Health website.
If you or someone you know has lupus, please know that there is much help and support available to you. Having talks with your doctor, family and friends, and other individuals who may have this autoimmune disease can do a world of good. No man (or woman) is an island, and having a support system in place will help as you continue to navigate life with lupus.