Noted Rheumatologist Dr Manukonda Muralikrishna of Guntur rheumatology and immunology centre said that lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease which causes inflammation in organs and joints, affects movement and the skin, and causes fatigue. In severe cases, symptoms can be debilitating and complications can be fatal.
“Lupus, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus, is a chronic autoimmune disease which can affect many body parts, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, or brain. When lupus occurs, the immune system of the body malfunctions, meaning, though it is responsible for fighting off viruses, bacteria, and germs and protecting the body, it suddenly starts to attack the healthy tissues,” said Dr Muralikrishna.
He said that international researches and studies were going on at brisk pace with the support of several international agencies to find out remedies. He said that the victims of lupus could hope for a better treatment in the coming years as the research was in an advanced stage. He observed that the covid-19 had further complicated the immune system of the lupus patients making it extremely difficult for the medical professionals to handle such cases.
The immune system in the body is responsible for producing antibodies that fight against antigens (intruders that sneak into our bodies to cause harm) and protect the body against any infections. Lupus occurs when the immune system of the body malfunctions and is unable to differentiate between antigens and healthy tissue. In this condition, the immune system directs antibodies against the healthy tissue in our bodies, along with the antigens, causing swelling, pain, and tissue damage.
Dr Muralikrishna said that women between the ages of 15 and 45 with a family history of lupus and taking medicines that are associated with drug-induced systemic lupus were prone to Lupus. He suggested the patients reach out to the medical professional immediately after finding the symptoms so that they could get better treatment. He said that delay in getting medical help would only complicate the condition.
The most common symptoms of lupus
*Fatigue and fever joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
*Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose skin lesions that occur due to exposure to the sun fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods
*Shortness of breath, chest pain, dry eyes, headache, memory loss
Depending on the severity of the condition, the doctor may prescribe medicines to suppress the immune system, reduce inflammation, and treat pain, swelling, and fever associated with lupus.
Research shows that lupus patients who exercise build stronger muscles, prevent joint stiffness, control fatigue, and avoid weight gain.
*Before deciding on an exercise regimen, make sure to consult the doctor to find out what type of exercises suit the patient the best since some movements can be harmful if the patient has swollen joints or muscle pain.
*Some exercises that can be considered are yoga, pilates, Tai Chi, dancing, swimming, and bicycling.