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What is lupus?
Lupus is a general term that refers to any of the various chronic inflammatory diseases that are marked by inflammation of the skin and are caused by autoimmunity. Classic lupus is also termed systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and typically initially appears as a rash accompanied by joint pain and fever. There are many subclasses of lupus.
Is lupus contagious?
Lupus is not contagious. Lupus cannot be transferred from one person to another by touching the skin lesions or by physical contact. The specific cause of lupus is not known, but many genetic predispositions (HLA types, regulatory genes) and gene-environment interactions (UV exposure, the immune system's response to microbes and/or drugs) have been identified that predispose individuals to develop this autoimmune disease.
How will someone know if he or she has lupus?
If a person has an onset of joint pain, fever, and a rash, lupus is considered as a possible cause. If the person is pregnant or if there is a family history of lupus or any autoimmune disease, the diagnosis of SLE becomes more likely. However the American College of Rheumatology has developed criteria that can be helpful in diagnosing the systemic form of lupus (SLE). There are 11 diagnostic basic criteria. When an individual has at least four of these criterions, they are likely to have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Briefly, the following is a list of the 11 criteria:
- Serositis (inflammation of the lining of the lungs or abdomen)
- Oral ulcers
- Arthritis (inflammation of many joints)
- Photosensitivity (rash after sun exposure)
- Blood disorders (low white, red, or platelet blood counts)
- Kidney problems (renal failure)
- Gastrointestinal problems (nausea, abdominal pain)
- Antinuclear antibodies (ANAs)
- Immunologic abnormalities (DNA antibody, cardiolipin antibody, false positive VDRL)
- Neurologic disorder (seizures or psychosis)
- Cardiac problems (pericarditis, myocarditis)
- Facial cheek reddish rash (malar rash)
- Focal areas of hyper- and hypopigmentation and scarring (discoid rash)
The diagnosis is usually made by a medical caregiver skilled in the diagnosis of lupus (such as rheumatologists or dermatologists).
Can lupus spread?
Lupus does not spread from one individual to another. However, in an individual, the manifestations of the disease and their severity may increase in intensity and location over time.
Is there a cure for lupus?
There is no cure for lupus. Fortunately, there are many different drugs that can be used to reduce symptoms and control the disease. Treatments are individualized usually by the specialist, such as a rheumatologist for joint and internal organ problems, dermatologist for skin problems and/or other specialists depending upon what organ system is affected.
When should someone seek medical care for lupus?
If a person suspects that they may have risk factors and some symptoms (see criteria above) of SLE, the individual should seek medical care quickly. The earlier the person is diagnosed and begins treatment, the better the outcome for the patient. Early intervention that reduces lupus inflammation helps protect body organs.
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"Treating Lupus." Lupus.org. July 25, 2013. <http://www.lupus.org/answers/entry/how-is-lupus-treated>.
"Understanding Lupus." Lupus.org. July 18, 2013. <http://www.lupus.org/answers/entry/is-lupus-contagious>.
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AnemiaAnemia is the condition of having less than the normal number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. The oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is, therefore, decreased. There are several types of anemia such as iron deficiency anemia (the most common type), sickle cell anemia, vitamin B12 anemia, pernicious anemia, and aplastic anemia. Symptoms of anemia may include fatigue, malaise, hair loss, palpitations, menstruation, and medications. Treatment for anemia includes treating the underlying cause for the condition. Iron supplements, vitamin B12 injections, and certain medications may also be necessary.
Biologics Biologic Drug Class
A biologic drug is a product that is produced from living organisms or contain components of living organisms. Biologics include recombinant proteins, tissues, genes, allergens, cells, blood components, blood, and vaccines. Biologics are used to treat numerous disease and conditions, for example:
- Chronic migraine
- Hepatitis B
- Hemophilia Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) prophylaxis
- HPV prevention
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Side effects of biologics depend upon the specific biologic drug; however, common side effects may include:
- High blood glucose levels
Drug interactions, preparations, and pregnancy and breastfeeding information should be reviewed prior to administering these drugs.
Is Pleurisy Contagious
Pleurisy or pleuritis is an inflammation of the lining around the lungs. Some of the causes of pleurisy include TB, the flu, heart attack, some forms of arthritis, and lupus. The treatment for pleurisy is generally aimed at the underlying cause of pleurisy.
Lupus SlideshowWhat is Lupus? Learn about lupus symptoms like butterfly rash, joint pain and fatigue. Find causes, diagnosis, and treatments for lupus.
Monoclonal AntibodiesMonoclonal antibodies or MABs are one type of biological therapy to treat certain types of cancer and arthritis, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), psoriasis, and transplant rejection. Review drug interactions, dosing, preparations, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information prior to using any medication.
Pulmonary hypertension is an increase pressure in the pulmonary arteries that carry blood from the lungs to the heart. The most common symptoms are fatigue and difficulty breathing. If the condition goes undiagnosed, more severe symptoms may occur, for example:
- Ankle swelling (edema)
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
- Decreased appetite
- Pain in the upper right side of the belly (abdomen)
- Fainting (syncope)
- Lightheadedness, particularly during physical activity
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
- A bluish color to the lips and skin
People at risk of developing pulmonary hypertension are those who:
- Live at high altitudes
- Have a family history of the condition.
- Have diseases and conditions that may put them at risk of developing pulmonary hypertension
- Use illegal drugs like cocaine, and certain diet drugs.
NIH. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "What is Pulmonary Hypertension?" Updated: Aug 2011
NIH. PubMed Health. "Pulmonary Hypertension (PH)."
CDC. Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. "Pulmonary Hypertension Fact Sheet." Updated: Jul 22, 2014.
Systemic LupusSystemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease. Lupus can cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, and nervous system. When only the skin is involved, the condition is called discoid lupus. When internal organs are involved, the condition is called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Lupus Pictures 1A chronic inflammatory condition caused by an autoimmune disease. See a picture of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and learn more about the health topic.
Lupus QuizThis Lupus Quiz covers causes, signs, symptoms, facts, and treatments for this inflammatory autoimmune disease.