Lupus Top Stories

Identifying a Serious Medical Condition: Lupus SLE and Antibodies

The antibodies in the bloodstream determine the patient’s medical condition: lupus is one of a group of diseases known as Rheumatic disorders, but despite being a similar medical condition, SLE (or systemic lupus erythematosus,) is not a variation on another type of rheumatic disease. Lupus antibodies have specific effects on the body, and make SLE a disease in its own right.

Lupus isn’t something a person can catch. An immune system malfunction causes lupus – and the immune system is connected to every type of tissue in the body. If the immune system is functioning properly, immune cells can recognize other cells in the body as “self,” and will not treat them like foreign microorganisms (antigens.) If the system, for reasons not fully understood, suddenly treats self-tissues as antigens, a person develops a rheumatic disorder. If the system destroys healthy tissue by producing anti-dsDNA or anti-SM antibodies, the person has lupus.

Antibodies don’t destroy antigens directly; they aren’t cells, they …


Lupus in Kids vs. Lupus in Infants

A medical condition known as neonatal lupus sometimes develops in newborns, but this is not a specialized form of lupus in infants. In 3% of pregnant women with lupus, a type of antibody that commonly occurs with the disease will be passed to the infant through the placenta. It happens because babies must rely on the immune system information from their mothers for the first few months of life, until they can build immunities on their own.

Neonatal lupus is generally limited to light sensitivity and rashes, and it usually clears up in the first six to eight months of the baby’s life.  It is not the same as having lupus, and it doesn’t predispose a child to developing lupus later in life.

The factors that seem to contribute to lupus in adults are factors in children, as well: genetic predisposition, a long period of severe illness, hormone changes, age and immediate family members with lupus all increase the …


Lupus Vs. Fibromyalgia: Similarities and Differences

Lupus can be hard to diagnose because the symptoms of lupus are common to many other types of disease. Lupus vs. fibromyalgia, for example – they both cause joint pain, muscle aches and fatigue, and they both cycle through flares and periods of remission.

The root causes for these two diseases are quite different, however. Lupus is a disease of the immune system; the white cells normally responsible for eliminating viruses and bacterial infection misidentify healthy body tissue as a foreign microorganism, or more properly, an antigen.

Lupus symptoms vary greatly depending on the severity of the immune system problem and the area of the body under attack. For example, a lesser form of lupus known as “discoid” lupus affects only the skin, while systemic lupus erythematosus, the most common form of the disease, will attack bones and major organs, particularly the small bones in the wrists and hands, the brain and nervous system, the heart and the kidneys. …


Description of Lupus: Immune System Cells

“Autoimmune” disorders are diseases that start in a person’s own body; they are not like viruses or bacteria, which enter the body from the outside. But a description of lupus must include foreign microorganisms – or, more correctly, antigens – because the same immune system responses that protect people from colds, flu and infections will also cause some people to develop lupus.

The immune system is a complex web of chain reactions, all based on cell activity. Some cells recognize antigens, some mark them, some destroy them and some remember antigens in case they ever come back. But the process of identifying and removing antigens from the body begins and ends with two types of cells: B cells and T cells.

B and T cells are lymphocytes, more commonly known as white blood cells. B cells can destroy many types of antigen themselves, but they have an additional function: when B cells encounter antigens like viruses or bacteria, some of …


How to Qualify For Lupus Disability Benefits

The good news is that the government does consider lupus a form of disability, if certain criteria are met. But a person filing for lupus disability benefits with the Social Security Administration should understand that there is a strict legal definition for “disability,” and a person who has lupus does not automatically receive government assistance.

Under federal law, Social Security pays disability to people who have a condition that will leave them unable to work for at least a year, or that will result in death. Lupus symptoms vary from comparatively mild to severe or life-threatening, and many people with lupus are able to manage their symptoms well enough to work regular hours. Disability benefits for lupus are granted once the person has established beyond a doubt that the disease has progressed to the point that working is no longer possible.

The SSA requires that people filing for disability be evaluated by a doctor. The doctor will make an initial …


Build a Support Network to Find Helpful Lupus Resources

Lupus is too heavy a burden to bear all alone. But nobody has to – the Web, local Lupus Foundation chapters and other groups offer helpful lupus resources and vital emotional support.

Lupus takes a toll not just on the person who has it, but on family and friends as well. Unexpected flares might curtail long-term plans; fatigue might make social activities few and far between. Confused thoughts, chronic pain and in worst cases, a severe secondary illness can exhaust and dishearten even the most patient and loving families.

Rather than depending solely on close relationships for encouragement and assistance – which can lead to resentment on both sides – people with lupus should find ways to connect with a larger lupus community. The best place to find good suggestions and real empathy in times of trouble is a circle of friends who regularly deal with similar setbacks and frustrations in their own lives.

 

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Top Lupus Doctors Provide Information and Quality Care

People newly diagnosed with lupus need a capable and experienced physician, but don’t always know how to find one. Top lupus doctors, the ones who offer the best patient care, have these traits in common:

  1. They are specialists. Primary care physicians treat a variety of illnesses; for a complex disease like lupus, a doctor who specializes in autoimmune diseases has a better understanding of lupus symptoms and treatment.
  2. They are in good standing with medical licensing agencies. The website docfinder.com has information on doctors who have a record of disciplinary action or lawsuits.
  3. They answer questions clearly and completely. A good doctor promotes open communication, provides specific information about lupus and its symptoms and thoroughly explains the details of the patient’s treatment plan.
  4. They handle routine x-rays and lab tests on site. A location that feels safe and accessible to the lupus patient is an important factor when choosing a doctor – but more importantly, the patient

Lupus in Babies is not like Lupus in Adults

Although there is a condition known as “neonatal lupus” that is sometimes mistaken for systemic lupus in babies, these two types of lupus develop in different ways, for different reasons. Systemic lupus erythematosus damages tissues, nerves and major organs in the body by creating antibodies that specifically target healthy cells. Neonatal lupus can sometimes cause heart problems in babies, but in most cases, symptoms will fade as the baby’s own immune system develops.

An estimated one in every 20,000 babies will be born with neonatal lupus. The disease affects children 0 – 6 months; up to 30% of these children will develop cardiac complications such as heart blockages and failure. The symptoms of neonatal lupus can resemble systemic lupus: rashes and scaly patches on the face and neck (and sometimes the limbs and trunk) look very like the discoid lesions common to SLE, and will often get worse when exposed to sunlight. Blocked sinuses and inflammation in the lining …


A Lupus Checklist Helps to Identify Recurring Symptoms

Bear in mind that no lupus checklist could ever be a substitute for sound medical advice. However, the American College of Rheumatology has established a list of symptoms that are common in people with lupus – in part, this list is what sets lupus apart from other autoimmune diseases and helps doctors diagnose and treat the disease more effectively. A patient that displays any four of the symptoms on the ACR’s list is considered positive for lupus.

Autoimmune diseases are a specific type of illness in which the body’s immune system misidentifies healthy tissue as an invading foreign microorganism (an “antigen”) and begins to attack and destroy it. Autoimmune diseases are classified according to the area that suffers the worst attacks; multiple sclerosis patients, for example, suffer symptoms resulting from immune cell attacks to the Central Nervous system, whereas patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis experience degenerative damage to the joints.

Most often, when people say “lupus,” what they mean is Systemic …


Blood Cell and Antibody Tests Are Vital For Lupus Detection

There are tests to determine whether a person has lupus, but it isn’t quite correct to call the process lupus detection. Because lupus is different for every person who has it, and because lupus symptoms are common to a number of different diseases, no single test is sufficient to determine whether a patient has lupus. Instead, doctors use a variety of methods to establish a lupus diagnosis.

Some symptoms of lupus are self-evident and require no testing, such as fatigue, joint pain, persistent rashes, light sensitivity and fever. Other symptoms could be due to more than one cause: pain in the chest, for example, could mean inflammation around the lungs, fluid that compresses the ribs or even something as serious as a heart attack or stroke.

Lupus is one of several diseases that directly affect the body’s immune system; although these diseases attack different areas of the body, the root cause of these attacks is always a malfunction in …


SLE, Clinical Trials – And a Brand New Drug

Although researchers continue the hunt for a cause and cure for SLE, clinical trials conducted more than two years ago gained FDA approval for a new lupus drug called belimumab, brand-named Benylsta. The drug, described as a “fully human” engineered antibody, attaches to malfunctioning immune cells, marking them as foreign invaders. The white cells of the immune system recognize these marked autoimmune cells as a threat, and eliminate them just as they would a viral or bacterial invader. Essentially, Benylsta uses good immune cells to destroy bad ones.

Certain types of white cells – called B cells – produce antibodies, Y-shaped combinations of protein molecules that bond to foreign microorganisms (antigens.) B cells can also become specialized plasma cells that “remember” antigens, to improve the immune response should the body encounter those antigens in the future. These cells constantly divide and form exact copies of themselves, which ensures that there is a large variety of antibodies available to the immune …


Lupus, Immune System B & T Cells and Antinuclear Antibodies

In even the most basic explanations for lupus, immune system malfunction is discussed, at least briefly. Problems with the immune response are the root of all lupus symptoms; lupus causes immune cells to misidentify healthy tissue as a foreign invader and attack accordingly. These destructive “autoimmune” cells might target any area of the body, but are particularly likely to attack the skin, blood vessels, bones, major organs or the Central Nervous System.

To better understand what lupus is and does, an overview of a healthy immune response is necessary. The phrase “every person is unique” is true right down to the cellular level; a molecular “signature” known as HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigens) marks the surface of cells, identifying them as “self” to a person’s immune system. The white cells of the immune system regard anything in the body that does not have that particular combination of HLA molecules as a foreign threat.

Although the immune response requires that many different …


A Closer Look at Lupus in Boys

In adults, the female to male ratio is about 9 – 1. But in pediatric lupus (lupus in children under 12) the ratio changes; it is more common to find lupus in boys than in men. The female to male ratio in pediatric lupus is closer to three out of every five.

The good news is that pediatric lupus is far less likely to occur in young children than in adults, although doctors are also slower to diagnose the disease because it is so rarely seen. This can mean that symptoms become severe before they are properly treated. But unlike adults, the types of symptoms do not vary according to gender; girls and boys tend to show the same signs of lupus, mostly the sort of things common to many childhood illnesses: persistent fever, aches and constant lethargy and fatigue.

As the disease progresses, young children are more likely to develop blood vessel diseases (lupus nephritis) and kidney diseases than …


Lupus Symptoms in Teenagers

Because lupus is different for everyone who has it, lupus symptoms in teenagers vary, just as symptoms vary in adults. However, there are certain concerns specific to teens, especially if there is a family history of lupus or other autoimmune diseases.

Lupus is far more likely to appear in women than men – 9 out of every 10 lupus cases are women. Most of these cases develop between the ages of 15 and 45, which might indicate that the female hormones estrogen and progesterone are a factor, as levels of these hormones are highest in this age group. Studies have yielded mixed results; pregnant women have lower estrogen and progesterone levels and so do women fifty and older, but lupus also frequently appears in women with lower hormone levels.

Symptoms of lupus in teenagers can be more difficult to treat. Teens have not stopped growing, and require sufficient levels of calcium to form strong, healthy bone tissue. Both lupus and …


Wear Lupus Products, Support Lupus Research

Lupus products are about raising money.

An estimated 1.5 to 2 million people in the United States have lupus; more than the total number of people with cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis and MS combined. There are as many as fifty new cases per 100,000 each year, 90% of them women, predominantly African-American women. Of the four types – drug-induced, cutaneous, neonatal and systemic – 70% will have the systemic form of lupus, and about half of these systemic cases will suffer major organ damage.

No one knows exactly what causes lupus. Research indicates that certain genes may predispose people to the disease, while others may contribute to its development. As studies continue, a cure becomes more and more likely. Associations like the Alliance for Lupus Research coordinate the efforts of various scientific teams with the International SLE Genetics Consortium, pooling data to facilitate further discovery. All this research, however, is expensive; proceeds from federal sources, grants, corporate sponsors and fundraising …


Vitamins For Lupus: What & Why They Help

It would not be completely accurate to say that there are specific vitamins for lupus – that is, vitamins that can serve as a replacement for medical treatment. Initial studies have not proven definitively that there are particular vitamins for lupus that have a dramatic effect on the disease itself. But if there is no proven link between lupus and vitamins, there is definitely a well-documented link between vitamins and good physical health.

Lupus is an immune system disorder in which immune cells attack the body’s own healthy tissue. Medications traditionally prescribed to treat lupus generally limit or even entirely suppress immune cell function – which keeps lupus from further damaging the body, but leaves the person vulnerable to infectious organisms. Also, such medications have long lists of side effects, some potentially dangerous; if a patient must take prescription drugs, the lowest possible dose is always preferable, administered for the shortest possible period of time. Certain types of lupus medications …


Green Medicine: In Search of a Lupus Herb

Traditional pharmaceutical drugs such as corticosteroids and antimalarials are the generally accepted treatment for lupus, but they’re hard on the body. Lupus herb-based medicines are currently under study as a gentler alternative, one with fewer and milder side effects.

The need for such an alternative is undeniable. The list of possible side effects for the most commonly prescribed corticosteroids is long and unsettling, and includes acne, weight gain, swelling in the face and torso, irritability, mood swings and insomnia, peptic ulcers and increased likelihood of infection. Long-term use can lead to glaucoma, osteoporosis, problems with pregnancy and slowed growth in children. Corticosteroid use can also aggravate diabetes and high blood pressure.

People taking antimalarial drugs do better; the percentage of people who experience side effects while on antimalarials is smaller. However, those who do experience symptoms can expect anything from rashes, stomach cramps and bloating to headaches, weakness and retinal damage. Even NSAIDs – Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs – can …


Signs of Lupus (In Adults): Sometimes, a Symptom Is Just a Symptom

For people familiar with lupus, or perhaps related to someone who has it, persistent symptoms can be a cause for concern. However, signs of lupus (in adults) such as muscle aches and stiff, sore joints, persistent chest pain, or acute pain when inhaling or exhaling are associated with more than one type of disease.
To a very limited extent, it is possible to identify someone with a tendency to lupus (this is not the same as predicting that the person will develop it.) Gender is perhaps the most influential factor; 90% of lupus cases are women. But age, race, genetics and prior cases of severe illness can all predispose someone to lupus. In adults with a family history of the disease, the likelihood of developing lupus increases to about thirteen percent; nearly 15% of these lupus cases will experience symptoms before age eighteen.

The American College of Rheumatology has established a list of symptoms characteristic of lupus in adults; a …


Preparing Helpful Answers to Lupus (SLE) Questions

For anyone just diagnosed with lupus, questions inevitably arise. How serious is it? What happens next? However, when diagnosing SLE, questions that doctors ask their patients are equally important. Certain combinations of symptoms will indicate that a person has lupus; to identify the cause of those symptoms, a doctor will determine the patient’s case (or medical) history. Case history includes the patient’s presenting complaint – the reason for the doctor’s visit – as well as employment and medical information, names of any drugs the patient might be taking and family history of illness and disease. These aren’t specifically SLE exam questions; they help the doctor make an overall assessment of the patient’s condition. They also make it easier for the doctor to rule out diseases that obviously don’t fit the patient’s symptoms.

Lupus is a condition wherein the body produces immune cells that attack healthy tissue. The immune system identifies “self” cells as foreign invaders, and creates specific antibodies (protein …


Purple Butterfly Lupus Symbol Raises Awareness

The lupus malar, or “butterfly” rash across the nose and cheekbones was the inspiration for the Lupus Foundation of America’s purple butterfly – a sign of lupus, symbol of hope and a call for public and governmental support. The lupus butterfly symbol, in a dramatic and easily recognizable shade of deep purple, is meant to draw the eye; a pin, shirt or sticker with this logo invites questions, and gives the wearer opportunities to talk with others about the disease.

Websites hosted by organizations such as the LFA sell items with the butterfly to raise money, with the aim of funding research that might result in a cure. However, friends and family of lupus sufferers, or even people who haven’t been directly affected by lupus but want to show support, are also encouraged to wear the butterfly. Money for research is definitely needed – but forming a community of people who understand the difficulties of living with this disease is …


How Medical Testing Leads to SLE Prognosis

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – SLE – is a condition wherein the immune system makes antibodies that attack healthy tissue. Doctors arrive at an SLE prognosis after studying the results of a number of tests, because the usual responses to illness, such as fever, exhaustion and achy muscles and joints, are also present in people with lupus. The battery of tests required to confirm a prognosis of SLE do more than identify the disease; they also rule out the possibility that some other type of disease is causing the patient’s symptoms.

The body has built-in defenses against infection, and very specialized methods to deal with it if infection does occur. The skin, mucous, saliva and other bodily secretions act as a barrier to keep infectious microorganisms out. If those microorganisms do make it inside the body, the immune system has a set of protocols to deal with it. The infected tissue responds to the invasion with inflammation. The infection is contained …


Cutaneous Lupus Pictures: Physical Changes That Indicate Disease Activity

When lupus autoantibodies attack only the skin, this is referred to as “cutaneous” lupus. Cutaneous lupus pictures reflect the visible signs of lupus skin damage. Although lupus skin damage can also occur with the systemic form, cutaneous lupus has several characteristic lesion types which set it apart.

Cutaneous lupus varies according to severity, lupus type, environmental factors and the overall health of the person who has it. The area of antibody attack also varies; the skin itself is actually several layers, each serving a particular function. The epidermis, or outermost layer of the skin, is thin, tough and mostly waterproof, and protects the body against bacterial and viral invasion, sun damage, and damage to blood vessels and internal organs. The pigment cells that determine skin color are in this layer, as are Langerhans cells – a type of immune cell that defends against infection, but sometimes contributes to an allergic reaction (which is actually a type of autoimmune disorder.)

The …


Herbs for Lupus Improve Overall Health

Although the method is not yet widely promoted in the United States, herbs for lupus – particularly Chinese herbal decoctions – have been used to control autoimmune antibody damage for hundreds of years in Asia, and more recently, in Europe. Naturopathy, or natural, non-invasive medicine using alternative care techniques and herbal medicines or vitamin and mineral supplements, is not a new idea. What gives most doctors pause is the lack of established documentation regarding the beneficial effects of these techniques. This is not the same as saying the techniques do not work.

In the United States, vitamins B and D, Omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants are used as immune system boosters, but these do not fall under the heading of “herbal medicines” – they are vitamin and mineral supplements. Doctors will permit them, if not recommend them, because preliminary studies seem to indicate they are beneficial against lupus; herbs, however, are generally not a part of a Western medicine-based …


Lupus Anticoagulant, Pregnancy & Antiphospholipid Antibodies

Although lupus is not contagious, in 33% of women it does produce a particular autoantibody that promotes blood clots and miscarriages. For women with lupus anticoagulant, pregnancy is more of a risk – for both mother and child. However, treatment methods are available to minimize this risk and make it possible for a woman to carry a child to term.

A history of miscarriages and premature births, or the unexplained death of a healthy, normal fetus, are the strongest indicators of lupus anticoagulant in pregnancy. When the doctor suspects that this particular form of lupus is present, he will order a blood test that screens for antiphospholipids, an antibody that encourages the blood to clot and makes the placenta unable to function properly.

Normally, the baby is properly nourished by the placenta until the second trimester; at this stage of development it is possible for the infant to survive outside the womb. However, impaired function of the placenta will slow …


Writers, Readers and Lupus: E-Book Content Evaluation

A book is a book, whether it’s a collection of bound pages or text on a Kindle. That’s why creditability should matter to readers with lupus: e-book content may seem more impressive because it is stored electronically and presented on a sleek bit of handheld technology. But an e-book is a book, and a book can be wrong.

There are several ways to determine whether a book contains reliable information; only some will be listed here. They fall into two broad categories: the reliability of the author and his work, and the relevancy of the information.

To determine the author’s reliability:

  1. Look at more than one book on the topic. Compare lupus books by various authors, paying close attention to information that is consistent from book to book. That information is the most likely to be trustworthy.
  2. Know the author’s credentials. A doctor is a more reliable source of lupus information than a celebrity, and a specialist can be an

Lupus (SLE) Quiz: Visible Symptoms

Although a lupus quiz is no substitute for advice from a medical professional, it can be a good tool for self-assessment. The lupus (SLE) quiz featured here will give you a general description of some common symptoms. Please note that not all symptoms of lupus will be included – this quiz is designed for people who are wondering if they should consult a physician. Certain signs of lupus, such as autoimmune antibodies and unusual blood cell activity, can only be verified through medical testing.

In this lupus screening quiz, “visible symptoms” includes any kind of lupus damage or secondary disease damage on the surface of the skin, or in the nose and mouth.

  1. Do you develop patchy rashes on your face or bumps on your skin after being in the sun?
  1. Have you suddenly started losing hair, and been unable to explain it?
  1. Have you developed sores that won’t heal, especially in your nose and mouth?
  1. Have both your legs

World Lupus Day & Participating Local Chapters

Although an estimated 1.5 million people in the United States have some form of lupus, the disease has only recently come to public attention. World Lupus Day, held every year on May 10th, began as a desire to raise awareness about the disease and the difficulties faced by those who have it. Even the most skeptical must agree that this vision is being realized. Global membership – which includes, among others, musician and WLD spokesperson Julian Lennon – has increased steadily since the event’s modest beginning in May of 2004.

The observance day began as a proclamation, endorsed by a committee of representatives from thirteen different countries. Intended to solicit government support and funding for lupus research, the proclamation is divided into six declarations which describe the nature of the disease, its global impact, the need for further research and more effective treatment and the importance of community education and support.

 

Get Connected, Get Involved

 

The event …


Unique SLE Autoimmune Disease Symptoms

Disorders that cause the immune cells to attack the body are referred to as “autoimmune” diseases (“auto” means “self.”) SLE autoimmune disease symptoms can, at first examination, resemble those common to any immune disorder, particularly Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis. However, each of these three diseases has specific characteristics which become clear when the right tests are performed.

People with systemic lupus autoantibodies generally display four (or more) of the eleven symptoms as defined by the American College of Rheumatology, including: rash; sensitivity to sunlight; muscle and joint pain; kidney damage; fluid around the heart and lung; a low white blood cell count; brain and central nervous system problems and sores in the nose and mouth. A wide-ranging and unpredictable autoimmune disease, SLE can affect nearly every part of the body and mimic illnesses as serious as corinary heart disease – or as simple as a case of the flu.

Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis, however, attack specific areas of …


Best Books On Lupus: Something for Everyone

There are plenty of books on lupus out there.  But the best books on lupus have up to date information from a reliable source – a doctor with good credentials and plenty of practical experience, or a well-known nonprofit organization like the Lupus Foundation of America.  Generally (but not always) good books won’t be more than a couple of years old, as advances in medicine can make a big difference in the way a disease is understood and treated.  They should strike a good balance between accuracy and readability – that is, the information shouldn’t be simplified to the point that it is no longer entirely accurate.

Above and beyond any booklist, Dr. Gary M. Levin’s “Natural Lupus Treatment System” offers easy-to-understand information about lupus and a cost-effective method of treatment that is tailored to the patient’s needs.  Dr. Levin’s system downloads as an e-book, making it easy to reference  information such as vitamin supplement names and amounts and recommended …


Info about Lupus Points to Combined Causes

Not so long ago, lupus researchers focused mainly on controlling symptoms. However, the newest info about lupus reflects amazing advances in DNA mapping and health-related technology. Scientists now know a great deal about the genetic factors that cause someone to develop lupus, and the immune process that damages healthy tissue.

A healthy immune system has many kinds of cells that perform specialized tasks, all working together to protect the body from disease. B cells recognize foreign microorganisms – called “antigens” – in the body and become either memory cells, which remember antigens, or plasma cells, which produce antibodies. It is antibodies that attack antigens and help other cells attack; antigens also control toxins created by harmful bacteria.

“Killer” T cells don’t need antigens – they attack directly. Killer T cells are made in the thymus and “trained” there to ignore healthy tissue and destroy only invading microorganisms. A second type of T cell, called a suppressor, will “turn off” the …


A Positive Lupus Anticoagulant Test – What It Is, What It Means

The term “anticoagulant” has to do with blood clotting (“coagulant” refers to blood clotting factors.) Positive lupus anticoagulant test results indicate the patient’s blood will clot poorly, excessively or in a way that causes other, dangerous complications. Lupus anticoagulant sometimes develops as a secondary condition in people who also test positive for lupus antibodies.

Partial thromboplastin time (PTT) and prothrombin time (PT) are both tests used to identify lupus anticoagulant. A PTT test measures the time it takes a blood sample to clot in a test tube, while a PT test looks for particular agents that should be present in the blood, to allow it to clot properly. Tests like these are done for a variety of reasons, but in tests for lupus anticoagulant, positive results mean the immune system has created antibodies to attack blood clotting factors. If these antibodies make it difficult for blood to clot properly, the person bleeds too easily and too much when injured. If …


Try a Lupus Helpline or Website for Answers and Assistance

Don’t talk yourself out of calling a lupus helpline.

Reasons are easy to find: you’re embarrassed to tell a stranger about your problem. You’re independent, and you want to handle things yourself. You’re not sure anybody can truly understand what you’re going through. You’re afraid you’ll just hear more bad news. You doubt anybody can really help. Talking won’t make the lupus go away.

The truth is we all need help, sometimes. It’s important that you don’t isolate yourself; facing something this difficult alone leaves you vulnerable to depression and despair. There are people out there with answers, ready to reassure and assist you – and in this age of electronic communication, they are easier than ever to find.

 

Help By Telephone

 

You have the option to call, if you are unable or uncomfortable with using the Web. Legitimate numbers will be toll free; the most common prefixes are 1-800 and 1-877. They generally operate during normal …


Ask yourself: Is Lupus Treatable without Prescription Drugs?

Traditionally, doctors have suppressed lupus symptoms with anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant medications. But is lupus treatable without prescription drugs? It’s a question many patients never think to ask. Because symptoms include arthritis and fever – and as the condition worsens, tissue and organ damage – drugs such as ibuprofen or prednisone are generally presented as the best solutions available.

However, adverse reactions to these medications may cause, or even increase the severity of lupus symptoms. Commonly prescribed immunosuppressant drugs such as prednisone – a corticosteroid – may have side effects ranging from depression and similar mood disorders to dizziness, vomiting and constricted breathing. Although sold over the counter, even ibuprofen can cause side-effects like nausea, headache, dizziness and bleeding.

 

Other Treatment Options

 

Perhaps you do not suffer adverse reactions to these medications; you simply prefer alternative medical treatments. Is lupus treatable without drugs? In many cases, yes: sufferers have reported positive results using naturopathy, homeopathy, herbal and dietary supplements …


“Lupus Diet” Recipes Are Nutritious and Heart-Healthy

All right, let’s face it – “lupus diet” recipes don’t sound appetizing. Add the word “diet” to any food and suddenly it’s nothing you would ever want to eat.  Really, isn’t having lupus bad enough? It has limited your physical activity, reduced your stamina and stolen your mental and emotional energy. And now, it wants to take away your favorite foods.

Of course, there are good reasons to change the way you eat. Foods high in fat – fried, oily or full of butter – increase risk of heart disease. Caffeine is hard on the stomach and can interfere with sleep. And high salt intake is dangerous for patients with lupus kidney disease or high blood pressure. A poor diet can make an already weakened body sicker than ever.

 

What Does “Lupus Diet” Mean?

 

“Dieting” in the traditional sense – reducing calories to shed excess body fat – is not the primary goal for lupus sufferers (although weight …


A Lupus Screening Quiz Is Not A Diagnosis

You took a lupus screening quiz online – and according to the quiz, you have lupus. Before you panic, you should know that while doctors do take patients’ self-reports very seriously, they also follow well-established guidelines to make a diagnosis. There are other medical conditions that produce symptoms very similar to those associated with lupus; the disease can be difficult to identify in the early stages. Better to rely on test results to properly identify the illness and track its progression.

That said, an online quiz will probably ask a lot of the right questions, and for that reason, it can be a valuable tool for the ill person. It can help put vague feelings into words, or identify symptoms that might otherwise be ignored or missed. Most likely, the quiz will draw from a list of eleven common symptoms as identified by the American College of Rheumatology. It can be assumed that a person displaying four or more of …


Key Characteristics Define Lupus Disease

The term “autoimmune disorder” is a bit daunting, the first time you hear it. Perhaps using an analogy to define lupus disease might make it easier to understand: your body is at war with itself. Your immune system, designed to destroy foreign invaders, has inexplicably begun attacking healthy tissue.

It isn’t clear what causes lupus, but it is believed that a combination of factors must be to blame, including hormones, viral infection, genetic factors and adverse reactions to certain medications. Lupus symptoms are actually evidence that a natural process has gone wildly out of control; treatment isn’t about curing so much as soothing, convincing the immune system to accept a cease fire.

 

Visible and Invisible Symptoms

 

Generally, lupus first manifests as arthritis pain and exhaustion; the first outward sign is likely to be a rash across most of the face, called an erythematous, or “butterfly” rash. Sensitivity to light and fever are also common, and as the disease …


A Brief Lupus Fact Sheet and Self-Care Guide

The following lupus fact sheet outlines common symptoms, but it also includes a list of things you can do to improve your health. No, lupus can’t be cured by the “mind-over-matter” approach. But things such as proper diet and rest will improve your overall quality of life. Bear in mind that this article could never replace proper medical advice from a qualified care provider.

Lupus is one of several diseases known as “autoimmune disorders,” which compromise the body’s natural defense system. In a lupus patient, antibodies in the blood wrongly identify healthy cells as foreign invaders, and attack accordingly. The patient suffers flu-like symptoms and joint pain as the body begins to destroy its own tissue in an attempt to rid itself of this perceived infection.

People who develop lupus, particularly systemic lupus erythematosus (or SLE) may experience swelling in the joints, arms and legs, chest pain, difficulty breathing, mouth and nose sores and a rash across the face commonly …


Women More Likely To Develop Lupus (SLE) Medical Condition

The combination of factors that causes the lupus medical condition – or more specifically, the SLE medical condition – has not yet been identified. Studies seem to indicate a genetic component, as members of a lupus sufferer’s immediate family are a little more likely to contract the disease, themselves. A long illness may increase a person’s susceptibility to a lupus medical condition; certain hormones might trigger onset, as well.

SLE does have a few predictable patterns, however. As early as 1872, scientists observed that women contracted the disease more often than men. This remains true today; statistically, women are eight to ten times more likely to develop SLE than men, especially women between twenty and forty years of age.

 

Ethnicity and the Lupus Medical Condition

 

Racial heritage seems to make a substantial difference. In the United States, instances of lupus occur in five out of every 100,000 people annually. However, African American men are two times – and …


Antibodies Target Blood Vessels in Cases of Systemic Lupus Vasculitis

Autoimmune disorders always trigger some kind of inflammation response, but systemic lupus vasculitis – which specifically targets blood vessels – has perhaps the most widespread effect on the body and is more likely, if left untreated, to be fatal.

Because cell tissue without a constant supply of blood will die, systemic lupus vasculitis poses a serious threat to vital organs such as the lungs, brain and heart. Antibodies keyed to detect and bond with bacteria or viruses capture foreign invaders and then settle against blood vessel walls, stretching and weakening them, or in some cases, causing them to constrict. This prompts the body to send cells and chemicals to the damaged area, in an attempt to heal and protect it. The vessels, however, respond by leaking red blood cells. The area swells, reddens and becomes tender, further restricting the flow of blood.

Vasculitis in the skin will cause rashes, bumps, red marks and bruising; skin deprived of blood will die, …


Lupus Anticoagulant Causes Blood Clotting and Blood-Related Complications

Although the name would seem to indicate otherwise, lupus anticoagulant causes abnormal clotting in the blood. People with lupus do not always experience complications due to lupus anticoagulant; only one out of every three will test positive for it.

Lupus symptoms occur when antibodies, molecules that normally neutralize only foreign elements inside the body, begin to attack healthy tissue. Commonly, an overactive immune response creates antibodies that destroy the inner parts of cells (the cell nucleus.) However, lupus anticoagulant causes a breakdown of particular proteins called “phospholipids” in the cell lining; as a result, the blood clots too easily, and person risks a stroke or heart attack – or in pregnant women, premature birth or the loss of the pregnancy.

 

Common Treatments

 

Lupus anticoagulant is part of a larger group of antibodies called antiphospholipids, which indicate the presence of an autoimmune disorder. Along with other factors, a doctor will look for antiphospholipids in the patient’s blood to confirm …


Use Caution in Lupus Chat Rooms

Gone are the days when great distances kept like-minded people apart. Lupus chat rooms routinely host conversations between members living in different states, or even different countries. In today’s global community, new friends are as close as a click of the mouse. Unfortunately, it’s still sometimes hard to know who your friends really are.

Chat rooms are designed to facilitate public interactions between strangers. Unless the parties involved limit access to a particular conversation, any exchange is immediately visible to everyone logged in, and can be copied and saved. The anonymity of electronic communication makes self-disclosure very easy – and provides ample opportunity to say something you will later regret.

Chat room conversation reflects the attitudes and interests of the participants. Rules of conduct, therefore, will not be the same for every session, and subjects deemed inappropriate by one group may be perfectly acceptable to another. Because chat is largely unregulated, it is possible to learn a great deal about …


Lupus in Toddlers Is Rare – Older Children at Greater Risk

While lupus in toddlers is not at all common – most pediatric lupus patients are children aged eight years or older – lupus can happen to anyone. The symptoms associated with adult systemic lupus erythematosus are also indicators of pediatric lupus, although it may take longer for a child to receive the correct diagnosis. Unfortunately, the wait for diagnosis often means the disease has progressed to a stage that threatens most major organs. This is not a sign that lupus is more severe in children, but it may mean the child requires more aggressive treatment at the outset than would be necessary for an adult.

Lupus in toddlers usually means fatigue, anemia (low red blood cell count) edema (fluid in the tissues that causes swelling beneath the skin) and pleurisy (inflammation in the interior lining of the lungs that causes coughing and chest pain.) Photosensitivity (sensitive to light, especially direct sunlight) is also very common, as well as pain in …


Nutritious Food, Gentle Recipes: Special Diets For Lupus

Lupus isn’t the same for everyone. Different patients experience different symptoms – and diets for lupus must be tailored to match. Doctors take the patient’s overall health, recurring symptoms, family and personal medical history and additional factors like allergies or food sensitivities into account when making dietary recommendations. And because lupus attacks the major organs in the body and often leads to kidney disease or heart and circulatory problems, the method of preparation is every bit as important as the kinds of foods the patient eats.

Lupus medications can also have side effects, often weight gain or fluid retention. Although diets for lupus patients aren’t “diets” in the traditional sense, there are times a patient may wish to adjust the original eating plan in order to shed a few extra pounds. However, any changes to a patient’s diet or exercise routines must first be discussed with a physician.

 

Foods to Avoid

 

Dietary restrictions are really meant to prevent …


Info on Lupus Disease in Women

Most people think of lupus as a “woman’s disease;” as 90% of lupus cases are women, this is an understandable misconception. However, info on lupus disease also makes it clear that a woman’s ethnicity can increase the chances that she will develop lupus.

“Race” and “ethnicity” don’t mean the same thing (in fact, the term “race” is no longer used by the scientific community.) Ethnicity includes genetic, geographical, social and economic factors shared by a group – or population – of people. It is correct to say that lupus occurs most frequently in women of the African-American ethnic group, for example. Hispanic and Asian women are more likely to develop lupus than white women – and men of all ethnic groups, combined, make up only 10% of total lupus cases worldwide.
Lupus is diagnosed the same way in everyone: a person with lupus generally shows at least four of the eleven signs of lupus defined by the American College of …


Defining SLE: What Are The Symptoms Of Lupus?

Viruses and bacteria are microorganisms with systems specially adapted to conditions inside the human body. They can cause illnesses that look very like lupus. What are the systems of lupus? How does lupus invade the body and make people sick?

Unlike viruses and bacteria, lupus isn’t a microorganism; it isn’t caused by a foreign invader in the body, it isn’t “caught,” it can’t be spread, and most importantly, it isn’t an illness the body can “fight off.” When viruses and bacteria cause infection, the immune system attacks and destroys the source of the illness. Lupus is a problem with the immune system itself.

The body is built according to coded instructions called genes. They determine cell type and function; there are genes for red blood cells, for bone cells, for skin cells and so on. The immune cells have genes that tell them what chemical markers belong to the body; blood and tissue cells with these markers look like “self” …


Lupus (SLE) Remission, Nephritis and CellCept

As those who have it can attest, lupus is a disease of extremes: systemic lupus remission and flare-ups alternate randomly as the body tries to achieve homeostasis. SLE remission might result from the right treatment, a change in medication or improved sleep patterns. Or it might be due to improved overall health resulting from changes in diet, beneficial supplements such as fish oil or vitamins B and D and restructuring daily activities to include rest periods and moderate exercise. Such periods of little or no disease activity can also suddenly end; lupus in remission can easily flare after exposure to bright sunlight, infection, illness or exhaustion.

Lupus can affect any area of the body, but it most often attacks the joints, heart, lungs, blood, brain and kidneys. Of these, the kidneys can be the most difficult to diagnose, as lupus damage to this area generally doesn’t produce obvious signs of illness until the person is very sick. Lupus autoantibody attacks …


SLE (Lupus) Guide: Get the Most Out of Life

This SLE guide will cover some basic coping strategies for the more common disease symptoms.  It is not intended to replace medical advice. “Lupus Guide” and “SLE guide” will be used interchangeably for the sake of clarity, although they are not quite the same (SLE is not the only form of the disease, but it is the most common.)
Lupus can attack cell tissue anywhere in the body, but the most common symptoms involve the skin, joints, lungs and kidneys. Skin damage can be a rash – particularly a “butterfly” or malar rash across the nose and cheekbones – or something with a more dramatic appearance such as lesions, dark, circular blotches or raised ridges and bumps. Lupus attacks on the lungs often produce inflammation in the outer lining, which rubs painfully against the ribs and causes difficulties with breathing. Kidney trouble could mean an attack on the kidneys themselves, or on the blood or blood vessels surrounding them.

Joint …


Finding Hope In Others’ Lupus Stories

It is one thing to hear the facts – quite another to connect to someone through a shared experience. Hearing lupus stories, from people who have firsthand knowledge of the disease, eases frustration and sorrow and brings together those who would otherwise feel isolated and misunderstood.

There is a significant amount of research connecting stories, storytelling and healing. Psychotherapy, in particular, looks at mental health counseling as a way of re-shaping the way a person views himself and his life, examining his own story and changing it. Stories of lupus help lupus patients examine emotions, form new, healthier life strategies and focus on aspirations and positive goals.

Additionally, though lupus is a little different for every person who has it, lupus patient stories all share some basic elements: they describe physical and cognitive (thought) difficulties caused by the disease, but also the stress, frustration and anxiety of coping with these difficulties. Hints for living with lupus, stories of overcoming …


Necessary Tests: Lupus, Levels of Complement Proteins and Inflammation

When a doctor orders blood tests to determine whether a patient has lupus, levels of white cells, red cells and certain immune-related proteins are all carefully scrutinized. It is vital that more than one test be performed, to verify that the disease really is lupus, but also to identify the type and severity, and if possible, the areas that are currently suffering damage. Because lupus is an autoimmune disorder that can affect any part of the body, it often looks like other kinds of disease, making it difficult to diagnose – and a wrong diagnosis means the patient is given the wrong treatment.

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has created a list of eleven symptoms that are typical of lupus; the rule of thumb is that any four symptoms in combination indicate the patient has the disease. Some of these symptoms, such as joint pain, fever, a prominent facial rash or headaches, are things the patient can feel and …


What Connects Lupus and Diabetes?

Lupus is an immune disorder, a disease that causes the immune cells to attack healthy tissue. People don’t immediately connect lupus and diabetes; but the chances increase that a person will develop diabetes, when the person has lupus and a predisposition to problems with blood sugar.

Diabetes, in most cases, is more properly called “diabetes mellitus,” a condition wherein the body does not properly maintain insulin levels. When food or drink enters the body, it is broken into forms the body can use, including a type of simple sugar called glucose. Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas; it controls the amount of glucose in the blood, and helps cells absorb it for fuel. If the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, the glucose levels in the blood rise too high, and a person experiences diabetes symptoms: increased urination, unexplained weight loss, and if allowed to progress, nerve and blood vessel damage, increased risk of heart attack, stroke and …


Michael Jackson: Lupus Didn’t Cause Changes in His Skin

Did Michael Jackson have lupus? In the later years of his life, fans did notice skin color changes in Michael Jackson: lupus does sometimes attack the skin, leaving rounded patches of dark red or nearly purple. However, a disorder known as vitiligo was actually responsible for the lightened patches on his face, neck and hands.

Though he did not have lupus, Michael Jackson did have a type of autoimmune disorder. Doctors believe that a faulty immune response causes vitiligo, based on the cellular changes that produce the characteristic mottled pigmentation. Compared to later photographs of Michael Jackson, lupus pictures – which could include malar (butterfly) rashes on the cheeks and nose, rough, scaly patches of reddened skin, sores or darkly discolored areas with slightly raised edges – clearly indicate the outward differences in the two diseases.

The autoimmune response in lupus is wholesale, and often systemic. Antibodies that target bodily tissues are created in the lymph glands; they may attack …


Man with Lupus/ Woman with Lupus – Disease Symptoms & Pathways

A man with lupus is something of a rarity – women are nine times more likely to develop the disease but between the ages of 15 and 45, ten percent of lupus cases worldwide are men, and by age fifty, the numbers increase to about 25%. Unfortunately, because women are most often affected, the majority of information available addresses women’s concerns; however, while concerns may differ, the American College of Rheumatology has established a list of eleven symptoms specific to lupus that is still in use today; any four symptoms occurring together indicate a patient has the disease, and it is possible for men or women to display any of the eleven symptoms on this list.

A person’s gender does seem to influence, to some degree, which symptoms develop, and predispose a man or woman to certain types of secondary disease. The familiar butterfly (malar) rash is more likely to appear with women; dry eyes, mouth and sinuses (Sjogren’s syndrome) …


Photos of Lupus Skin Rash Could Match Any Type of Lupus

With the current widespread availability of the internet, photos of lupus skin rash are easy to find. However, an internet search will only return reliable results if the terms used are accurate and effective. What’s more, the disease has more than one form, and each type can damage the skin; lupus photos do not necessarily reflect typical symptoms, or their level of severity. As lupus is different for every person who has it, a photograph cannot be used to predict the symptoms that might develop in someone who is newly diagnosed.

There are three main types of skin disease associated with lupus, and any of them can cause rashes and lesions. Discoid, also called chronic cutaneous lupus, and subacute cutaneous lupus are less severe forms of the disease and generally will not become systemic. The third type, acute cutaneous lupus, typically occurs in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, and produces the characteristic malar, or “butterfly,” rash across the cheeks and …


SLE (Lupus) News Indicates Cellular Mutations Trigger Disease

The latest SLE news offers real hope. Rapid advancements in all types of autoimmune research have contributed much to scientists’ body of knowledge, but particularly with lupus, news from prominent research teams indicates the focus has shifted from controlling symptoms to preventing development and progression.

This is partially due to organizations such as The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association and The Alliance for Lupus Research, which fund scientific studies dedicated to finding a cure. Additionally, groups such as the SLE Lupus Foundation and the Lupus Foundation of America sponsor fundraisers and grass-roots campaigns, to provide additional funding for lupus research. These groups are also committed to educating patients and their families and increasing public awareness concerning the disease.

It has long been understood that lupus is a disorder of the immune system itself, rather than a disease created by an outside agent (such as a virus.) The lymph glands, which create antibodies to target foreign organisms in the body, begin …


Subacute Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus

Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus, a lesser form of lupus that does not necessarily lead to systemic (whole body) tissue damage, is one of three types of autoimmune skin disorders caused by lupus antibodies. All three types produce some form of rash or discoloration on the surface of the skin; subacute lupus erythematosus, however, is least likely to cause permanent scarring. Discoid and acute cutaneous lupus also tend to cause raised lesions and rough, scaly patches on the skin which do not customarily appear with the subacute form of the disease.

Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE) is not systemic lupus, which can attack the nerves, bones and organs, but blood tests generally reveal the presence of ANA (anti-nuclear antibodies,) one of the eleven symptoms of lupus as defined by the American College of Rheumatology. SCLE generally displays at least four of these eleven symptoms, and for this reason, doctors caution patients to schedule regular checkups, a preventative measure to be …


“Getting” Lupus: Contagious Diseases Compared to Autoimmune Disorders

Contagious diseases may develop as a result of lupus, but they are not like lupus: contagious diseases are caused by microorganisms that invade the body and provoke an immune response. With lupus, the immune system treats the body itself as an invader – and under no circumstances is lupus contagious.

An infectious disease that is communicable (can spread from one source to another) becomes “contagious” when it spreads from person to person rapidly, through both contact and close proximity. Unlike lupus disease, contagious diseases result from viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites, all of which use human cells and tissues to grow and reproduce. The symptoms people experience when sick are the body’s attempt to eliminate these microorganisms; they vary depending on the severity of the infection and its location.

Viruses are usually specialized, in that they infect only certain kinds of cells, usually those found in the nose, throat and the upper part of the lungs. They cannot reproduce on …


Additional Chromosome Increases Likelihood of Lupus (SLE) in Males

Although the precise combination of factors that triggers lupus in males is not known, recent studies have added pieces the puzzle. SLE in males is statistically more likely if an additional X (female) chromosome appears in a man’s XY chromosome pair, forming an XXY pattern. The official name for the XXY condition is “Kleinfelter’s Syndrome,” and it affects about one in every 500 males. XXY men are predisposed to autoimmune disorders.

Ultimately, a chromosome problem begins in the genes. Genes are bits of DNA that produce proteins in the human body. Thousands of genes together form a larger DNA sequence, a chromosome. Most cells contain 23 unique pairs of chromosomes; it’s these individual chromosome patterns that account for the wide variety of traits in human beings – that give someone black hair rather than blond, for example, or blue eyes instead of brown. Generally, variety is a good thing; it helps prevent harmful genetic mutations from passing to the next …


Lupus (SLE) in Men – Unique Challenges, Specific Treatments

Lupus in men is far rarer than it is in women, but about 150,000 men in the United States do have some form of the disease. SLE in men doesn’t produce a unique set of symptoms. However, men have certain, specific concerns when it comes to work, family life and self-image – and because lupus is widely considered a “woman’s disease,” it can be difficult for them to find relevant information and adequate support.

Lupus affects the immune system; it causes the body to produce specific antibody proteins that direct immune cells to attack healthy tissue. It can damage skin, nerves, bones and major organs, but it is not contagious; a person with lupus cannot give the disease to anybody else. Scientists have long suspected that the onset of lupus is linked to hormones like estrogen, which are more active in women.

In addition, some scientists now believe that the X chromosome – a mother’s DNA contribution to her child’s …


Is Lupus A Genetic Disease?

There are 2 types of lupus – SLE (Systemic lupus erythematosus) and Discoid lupus. With SLE, almost any organ of the body can be affected, including the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, heart, blood vessels, and the brain. Discoid lupus is a milder form and typically produces a red scaly rash on the face, arms, legs, or any skin area that is exposed to the sun.

Is SLE genetic? Scientists have identified autoimmune gene loci that appear to predispose a person to both SLE lupus and Discoid lupus. However, a person with a family member afflicted with lupus has less than 5 percent chance of getting the disease. It appears that other genes that have not been identified may also be involved.

 

Is Lupus A Genetic Disorder?

 

Runx-1 is the name of one gene that seems to affect the onset of lupus, and it is linked to other autoimmune disorders – rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. So, is lupus a …


Medical Diagnosis of Lupus

When it comes to lupus, medical professionals will not hesitate to inform patients that there is no cure. Lupus is an autoimmune disease. That means a person’s immune system attacks itself because it over-reacts to ordinary allergens that invade the body. The symptoms of lupus vary with each person. The severity of the disease can also change during a person’s life. Lupus can affect any part of the body, however, some organs that are commonly attacked are the skin, kidney, joints, and liver.

 

Lupus, a Medical Condition, Not a Sentence

 

The medical lupus diagnosis can be devastating but it is not a death sentence. Many people who have battled with lupus have gone on to live full lives. Nicole Paxson was diagnosed at age twelve and she now owns a successful cosmetics company that promotes women’s self-confidence, no matter what challenge they face in life. Toni Braxton told the Chicago Holistic Health Examiner (Nov 2010) that her symptoms had …


Lupus Journal Articles Study The Vitamin D – Lupus Connection

Lupus journal publications classify lupus as an ‘autoimmune disorder’ in which a person’s immune system fails to function properly. It can no longer correctly identify toxins that come in contact with the body, so it self-destructs. It targets any organ, but mostly the skin, joints, and kidneys.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found commonly in dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. The human body also makes its own supply when the skin comes in contact with sunlight. Vitamin D helps to regulate the immune system and appears to keep some autoimmune disorders at bay (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2004).

There are several scientific journals that link lupus to low vitamin D level. Patients who are deficient in vitamin D are more prone to develop SLE than those with higher levels (Medical News Today, Aug, 2011). Deficiencies in D also appear to mark the onset of SLE (Lupus, Oct. 2011). D-deficiency is also associated with more severe …


Lupus Awareness Month

The month of May is Lupus Awareness Month. Each year, millions of people show their support for patients and families by attending events to help others to gain an understanding and awareness of this debilitating and sometimes life-threatening disease.

About 80% of the public has little or no knowledge of lupus (The Lupus Foundation of America, 2011). This lack of education and awareness makes a detrimental disease even more difficult to bear for the 1.5 million sufferers in this country.

 

Lupus Awareness Bracelets and Ribbons…What They Mean To Someone With Lupus

 

You may see people wearing a lupus awareness bracelet or a ribbon in purple or orange, when attending lupus events. These are the 2 official colors of lupus support and awareness efforts. Wearing these symbols of support means the world to a lupus patient because it lets them know that loved ones share in their struggles as well as their hopes. To purchase Lupus Awareness Bracelets, …


Is Lupus Hereditary?

Since it is observed to run in families, the obvious answer to the question ‘Is lupus a hereditary disease?’ would be ‘yes’; however, it is not necessarily passed on. According to research, it is actually the predisposition to lupus that may be inherited through the genes. Other factors in a person’s environment can trigger it to manifest in the body.

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder, which means that one’s own immune system attacks itself, destroying healthy cells and tissues and affecting organs such as the skin, kidneys, joints, and others. The long-term expression of lupus is called SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus).

US News (2008) reported some research findings that identified a group of genes that makes one predisposed to getting lupus. These genes were named ‘ITGAM, KIAA1542, PXK and rs10798269.’ Then, there are genes, referred to as ‘PTPN22’ and ‘STAT 4’, which are linked to other autoimmune diseases such a rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes as well.

 

Lupus,


History of SLE & History of Lupus Spans Three Periods

The history of SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosis) covers 3 periods: The classical, neoclassical, and the modern period. During the classical period, lupus was described as a ‘cutaneous’ or skin disorder. (Lupus Foundation of America, 2003). The neoclassical period realized that lupus sometimes manifested as a systemic condition, meaning that it can cause long-term damage to major organs of the body. Now, the modern era is largely based on the discovery of the LE cell back in 1948, when lupus was acknowledged as a breakdown of the immune system. ‘Lupus’ came from the Latin word for ‘wolf’ and was coined by Rogerius, a thirteenth century physician who believed that lupus lesions looked very similar to a wolf’s bite.

 

The History of Lupus:  The Development of Therapy

 

The history of lupus disease treatments shows a definite uphill climb. In 1894, quinine was used to treat lupus. Several years later, salicylates were used to enhance the effects of quinine. Then, in …


Lupus Pictures – Skin Rash

As you can see in the link below, on the pictures of skin, lupus makes its marks in different ways. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder that affects the skin, joints and internal organs of the body. Skin disorders typically accompany lupus. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, it affects forty to seventy percent of patients with SLE. When systemic lupus is active, a rash resembling sunburn sometimes appears. It may cover both cheeks, and cross the bridge of the nose, forming the shape of a butterfly. The ‘malar rash’ may also appear on other body parts that are often exposed to the sun such as arms and legs, and body.

 

Pictures of Skin – Lupus Lesions

 

Raynaud’s phenomenon typically results from inflamed nerves or blood vessels exposed to cold temperatures that cause the tips of the fingers or toes to turn red, white, or blue and may be accompanied by pain, numbness, and tingling.…


Advocate For Lupus Patients: SLE Support Group

SLE Lupus Foundation is not just a lupus support group. It also acts as an advocate for lupus patients and helps to fund research related to the disease. Its primary goal, however, is to make people aware that they are not alone, and to provide resources to those who are afflicted as well as to their family members.

SLE becomes the voice for patients with lupus by influencing policy at the local and national levels, in areas such as drug reimbursement, racial disparities, and federal funding toward lupus research.

 

How Does the SLE Support Group Serve People Who Have Lupus?

 

SLE Support Group serves patients by providing referrals and counseling services. They also offer specialty support groups such as the Multi-Cultural Program to accommodate the high population of African-American, Latino, and Asian women who have this disease, and to ensure that they get the best care. Others include the LANtern (Lupus Asian Network) Program, an outreach to …


Walk For Lupus 2011: What It’s All About

Lupus Alliance of America will hold its 18th Annual Walk-along For Lupus on October 16, 2011 at 8:00 am. Walkers may join them at Eisenhower Park, Field #6, East Meadow, NY. Breakfast and lunch will be served and be sure to bring the whole family for face painting, live music, and prizes. Lupus is a complex illness that often affects many parts of the body, particularly the skin, joints, and internal organs of the body. Some people have gone on to lead normal lives and others are severely affected by the complications of the disease.

 

Lupus Walk NYC 2011: Show Your Support

 

Take part in the lupus walk in NYC and show your support to loved ones who suffer from this disease. The Lupus Alliance of America is a group of agencies that have banded together to provide local services to those who are afflicted with lupus, and to fund research toward finding effective treatments and a cure. …


Toni Braxton, Lupus, And Adversity

For Toni Braxton, lupus continues to be a challenge to, not only her personal health, but also her professional and financial life. This grammy-award singer/ musician had battled with the decision to ‘come out of the closet’ with lupus – but in the end, she was relieved and she continues to inspire hope among those who are afflicted with this mysterious disease.

Lupus is classified as an autoimmune disorder. The immune system ‘over-reacts’ when it encounters a foreign invader, and begins to rapidly produce antibodies to destroy the toxins and attacks healthy tissues in the process. Research shows that lupus is genetically linked. Toni Braxton admits that lupus does run her family.

 

Toni Braxton Has Lupus, and Boldness.

 

No illness is glamorous, but the symptoms of lupus may be extremely detrimental to a celebrity. Skin rashes are typical and may be disfiguring. Toni Braxton has lupus but that does not seem to take away from her beauty and passion …


Lupus Testing

Lupus testing is important for physicians to be able to have a clear picture of what is going on with your illness and what treatments will have to be undertaken. Each test tells a different story. In lupus, it is important to frequently go through lupus testing to keep ahead of your illness, your physical changes, and your body’s overall condition.

Some of the tests that your doctor will administer while testing lupus are as follows:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC) – this test measures the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and serum.
  • Urine Tests – urine tests help ensure that the kidneys are ok, since lupus can attack them without any warning signs.
  • Antibodies – Blood testing for lupus antibodies are usually is usually done with a panel, or group of tests. Antinuclear (ANA) tests are one of the tests on the panel that are common in lupus testing.
  • C-reactive protein (CRP) – this is a

Lady Gaga and Lupus

What do Lady Gaga and Lupus have to do with one another? There has been a lot of speculation about Lady Gaga and Lupus. Lady Gaga threw her fans in a loop (according to Abcnews.go.com) when she appeared on “Larry King Live” in 2010. Lady Gaga revealed to King that she had tested “borderline positive” for lupus. She said that lupus is in her family and it is genetic. Gaga continued stating “The truth is, I don’t show any signs or symptoms of lupus. But I have tested borderline positive for the disease. So, as of right now, I do not know if I have it, but I have to take good care of myself.”

Much of this came about after she fainted during a concert in New Zealand. Speaking to a U.K. newspaper she stated. “I have heart palpitations and things.  But it’s okay. It’s just from fatigue and things.” She has also been noted as saying that she …


Lupus Research (SLE Research)

There are a wide variety of organizations are now conducting lupus research (SLE research) in order to prevent lupus and find better treatments. Research on lupus is important. It has already brought this once fatal disease to a point where most people can live a normal lifespan and allowed women with lupus to have normal births. According to the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), more progress has been made in the treatment and diagnosis of lupus in the last decade than has been made over the past 100 years.

Many of the organizations that are performing lupus research are also advocating for awareness, providing resources for lupus patients, and constantly trying to raise funds. The following are organizations which are currently researching lupus:

Lupus Research Institute (LRI) – can be found at Lupusresearchinstitute.org and is specifically dedicated to novel research in lupus.

Alliance for Lupus (ALR) – can be found at Lupusresearch.org. This is a national voluntary health organization.

Lupus


Lupus and Pregnancy (SLE and Pregnancy)

Lupus and pregnancy (SLE and Pregnancy) used to be highly discouraged. In the past, if a woman with lupus was lucky enough to have a baby that survived pregnancy, it would be born with skin rash, liver problems, and low blood cell counts. Nowadays this is a rare condition and most infants that are born to mothers with lupus are entirely healthy.

Today not all of the problems of pregnancy and lupus have been solved. Twenty-five percent of women with lupus deliver prematurely, and fetal loss due to miscarriage happens in about 20 percent of women. Still, pregnancies are possible and 50 percent of lupus pregnancies become completely normal.

A pregnancy with lupus should be planned beforehand if possible. It is advisable to be free of any flares for at least 6 months before trying to become pregnant. Lupus pregnancies are considered “high-risk”, so a woman who is going through lupus and pregnancy should have an obstetrician that is familiar …


Lupus in Pregnancy (SLE in Pregnancy)

Having lupus in pregnancy (SLE in Pregnancy) used to be advised against, due to the potential risks. Nowadays women will lupus can safely become pregnant and have healthy babies. According to WebMD.com the first steps to having a healthy pregnancy should be taken before you get pregnant. Women with lupus nephritis in pregnancy should be exceptionally careful.

If you are thinking about having a baby, you should do so at a time when you are the healthiest. Make sure that your lupus is under control before you start, because the healthier you are when you conceive the better the chances are that you will have a healthy pregnancy and baby. It is recommended that your lupus be under control for at least six months.

To an extent the rules are fairly normal for lupus in pregnancy: eat well, don’t smoke or drink, take your medications as prescribed, and visit your doctor regularly. It is important that you have frequent doctor …


Famous People with Lupus

There are quite a few famous people with lupus. The autoimmune disease isn’t always showing, so it is quite surprising who has it. The following information about celebrities was found on health.com.

Lady Gaga told Larry King that she was borderline positive for lupus. A positive test, which Lady Gaga has been talking about doesn’t necessarily mean that you have lupus. You have to have symptoms too, and she said she didn’t. One in five women will test positive for the disease, but only about 10% have it.

Toni Braxton recently tweeted that “lupus medication makes causes most women to gain women to gain weight. But we’re still fabulous.” Cortcosteroids do promote weight gain. Also, women of color are two to three times to develop lupus.

The well-known scars on the singer Seal’s face are said to be the result of discoid lupus. Another celebrity is rapper Snoop Dogg’s daughter, Cori Broadus, begin showing symptoms in 2005, at the …


Lupus in Children (SLE in children)

At one time lupus in children was thought to be more severe than that of adults. Most doctors no longer believe this. One major difference, however is that by the time children are diagnosed with lupus they have been sick for a longer period of time. So, by the time a diagnosis is made significant, internal organ involvement has begun. This is because lupus can look like many different conditions, and since childhood lupus if is not one of the first things to be considered.

The first step for any family is to make sure the diagnosis is correct. Although there a positive ANA is generally required, there are a lot of children with lupus that receive positive ANA’s who do not have lupus. Another thing to remember is that in children there are a certain amount of criteria a child has to fit to be diagnosed. Some doctors assume that if the child does not fit all four of …


Children with Lupus

It is difficult to discuss lupus with children. Children with lupus should never have to deal with the concepts of having lupus, but the reality is it does happen. Relating to a child who has lupus can be very hard, but you must remember that you have to be the strong one because they can’t.

The first step for every parent who has a child with lupus is to learn as much as possible about the disease. Children with lupus have very special needs and you must understand them. Educating yourself will help you to educate and talk to your child as changes occur. It is also important that you raise awareness with the child’s teachers, family, and friends so that your child has all the support he/she needs.

When trying to bustle through doctor’s appointments, dealing with your own fears, and dealing with day-to-day life it is sometimes hard to remember to talk to your children. However, if you …


What is SLE Disease?

What is SLE Disease?” “What is SLE lupus?” “What is SLE?” These are all common questions that people often ask. SLE stands for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, or Lupus. This is a chronic, autoimmune disease which can damage any part of the body such as skin, joints, and/or organs within the body. Chronic means that the symptoms last more than six months and can continue for many years. Autoimmune disease occur when something goes wrong with you immune system. The antibodies which normally attack foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, and germs, begin attacking the body’s healthy tissue. The cause of SLE disease is still unknown.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE disease) is the most common type of lupus. It is known as a disease of flares, which means the symptoms tend to worsen and making you fill ill. Then you will go into remissions, which means that the symptoms become better and you feel better as well.  SLE Disease should …


Lupus Information (SLE Information)

There are a lot of resources available for lupus information (SLE information). Many organizations try as hard at spreading lupus awareness as they do performing research or raising funds. This article will help you to locate the lupus information (SLE information) that you are searching for.

One good website to begin search for information on lupus is Lupus.webmd.com. This website has tons of information about lupus, the chapters include:

  • Overview & Facts
  • Symptoms & Types
  • Diagnosis & Tests
  • Treatment & Care
  • Living & Managing
  • Support & Resources

 

The site also posts the latest headlines dealing with lupus and articles about real experiences with lupus. Joining the WebMD Lupus community is also a great way to gather information on lupus disease. If you have specific questions you can speak to experts through an expert blog or discussion.

Another great website to find lupus disease information is the MayoClinic.com. This website has information about symptoms, causes, treatments, diagnosis, and drugs …


Info on Lupus (SLE Info)

There are some very good resources out there if you are looking for info on lupus (SLE info).  One of the best places to start is always Lupus.org; this is the website of the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA). This site breaks down basic information about Lupus in an easy-to-read way that everyone can understand. There is also more in-depth information available; it is meant for physicians, but anyone can read it. Finally you can join the online forum and chat with others that have the same problems, or you can even ask questions of lupus experts (mostly physicians) online.

Another good thing about the Lupus.org website is that it leads you to other resources that are available, in order to help you gain knowledge. You are encouraged to contact your local LFA chapter anytime you want info about lupus. Locations of local chapters and their phone numbers are listed on the website. You may also contact a Health Educator …


Lupus Book (SLE Book)

There are a lot of really helpful books about lupus out right now. One Lupus book (SLE book) that is getting good reviews is Living with Lupus (Overcoming Common Problems) by Philippa Pigache. According to Thelupussite.com, it is a very good book for someone who has recently been diagnosed with lupus or suspects they may be suffering from Lupus. They go on to say it gives very straightforward and easy to read information about diagnosis, symptoms, tests, and treatments.

Philippa Pigache has been a journalist and writer for over thirty years. She is currently a freelance medical science writer and the honorary secretary of Medical Journalists’ Association, as well as the editor for their journal, MJA News. She has written for both local and national newspapers, women’s magazines, radio, and television. She has contributed twenty years to consumer health pages, journals for health professionals, and has won various awards for her medical journalism and fiction writings.

She is also the …


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