There are a number of autoimmune diseases that affect people throughout the world – one of them is lupus. There are several types of lupus, some of which can be very serious and life-threatening. Throughout the course of this article, we will discuss the different types of lupus, signs and symptoms of lupus, and treatment for lupus, as well as the possibility of home healthcare services for lupus.
The Different Types of Lupus
Lupus is a condition that is characterized by the body’s own immune system attacking its organs and tissues. When this occurs, many different parts of the body can be affected by inflammation, including various organs, like the kidneys, the skin, and the joints. MedlinePlus.gov (2016) identifies five different types of lupus. These types of lupus are:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (ELS). This is the most common type of lupus, and is a type that can affect many parts of the body. ELS may be severe or mild.
- Neonatal lupus. This rare type of lupus only affects newborns.
- Drug-induced lupus. Caused by certain medications, drug-induced lupus will go away when the medication causing the disordered is removed.
- Discoid lupus. This type of lupus will cause a red rash that doesn’t go away.
- Subacute cutaneous lupus. This type of lupus can be painful and embarrassing, as one of its main symptoms is the development of sores caused by being out in the sun.
Symptoms and Causes of Lupus
One thing that is complicated about diagnosing lupus is that no two cases of lupus are exactly alike (Mayo Clinic, 2017). There is one distinctive sign of lupus that occurs in the majority of cases: a butterfly-shaped facial rash. However, this is not true in all cases of lupus; some people may never develop this rash.
Usually, a person with lupus will experience their disease in flare-ups, rather than experiencing all symptoms of the disease all of the time. Symptoms might include:
- Achy joints;
- Joint swelling or stiffness;
- Headache and confusion;
- Memory loss;
- Shortness of breath;
- Dry eyes;
- Chest pain;
- Photosensitivity; and
- Raynaud’s phenomenon (fingers or toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or stress).
Most cases of lupus derive from an inherited condition; that is, someone else in the family has lupus, too. While the cause isn’t always known, many of the triggers are identifiable, and include:
- Sunlight; and
- Certain medications.
Other risk factors include age (those under age 45 are more likely to be diagnosed), sex (lupus is more common in women), and race (African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics are more at risk).
Why Is Lupus So Serious?
Lupus is a very serious condition, primarily because the complications that are associated with the disease can be deadly. The major complications of lupus involve the body’s organs, including the heart, kidneys, lungs, and brain, as well as the central nervous system. Sometimes, a person with lupus will suffer serious kidney damage, inflammation of the chest and bleeding into the lungs, and inflammation of the heart muscle. Lupus can also affect the brain, causing memory problems and other complications.
What’s more, having this disease also increases your risk of other diseases and complications, including infection, cancer, bone tissue death, and pregnancy complications.
How Is Lupus Treated?
The treatment for lupus will depend on the person, as well as the person’s age and the degree of severity of their condition. Treatment might include the use of various drugs to manage the condition, as well as lifestyle modifications, such as eating a healthier diet, being careful about sun exposure, eliminating smoking, and exercising regularly. Getting psychological support and care is another important part of living with and managing lupus, often both for the affected patient and their closest family members.
Home Healthcare Services for Lupus
In some cases, lupus can be very serious, especially if the disease causes other complications and illnesses that demand medical care. The disease may progress to the point where a person cannot go to work or requires some form of home health aid.
At United Energy Workers Healthcare, we provide free, in-home healthcare services to those who are suffering from certain qualifying conditions under the EEOICPA/RECA program. If you need home healthcare, we are here to answer your questions and guide you through everything you need to know. To learn more about free home healthcare from United Energy Workers Healthcare, please call us directly or send us a message requesting more information.
Mayo Clinic (2017, October 25). Lupus. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lupus/symptoms-causes/syc-20365789
MedlinePlus. (2016, July 20). Lupus. Retrieved from: https://medlineplus.gov/lupus.html.