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Lupus By Carly Cain What is Lupus Found in 1851, in Ancient Greece, “Lupus” is Latin for “wolf,” relating to the “butterfly rash” that may appear on the cheeks of many Lupus patients, referring to the facial marking of a wolf bite. Lupus, known as lupus erythematosus or systemic lupus erthematosus, it is an auto-immune disease, in which the bodies healthy tissues and organs are attacked by an increased amount of antibodies (Phillips, 3). Lupus causes the body to become allergic to itself, and produce too many antibodies (Wallace, 5). These antibodies start attacking tissues and organs all throughout the body, causing inflammation in certain parts of the body where the attack is taking place (Wallace, 4). The inflamed areas of the body are usually reddish in color, tender, and often painful (Wallace, 4). Symptoms Symptoms may be unpredictable and transient, differing for each patient. May include: Persistent profound fatigue. Joint pain and inflammation. Skin rashes. Extreme sensitivity to sunlight. Mental confusion. Chronic low-grade fever. Reynaud’s like extremities. Mouth ulcers and hair loss (Journal of American Medical News). Possible Causes Speculations of environmental factors Viral or bacterial infections. UV light. Prescription heart medication. Antipsychotic drugs. Epstein-Barr virus. Mononucleosis. Lyme disease. Anti-DNA antibodies. Genetic predisposition (Journal of American Medical News) Possible Causes such as: Diagnosis There is no single test for Lupus, the FDA just approved a new screening tool used for testing. “50% of lupus patients see at least three doctors before being diagnosed” (Journal of American Medical News). May take an average of up to eight years to diagnosis Lupus (Phillips, 21). Initial screening includes: A complete blood count. Liver and kidney screening panels. Laboratory tests for specific auto-antibodies. Antinuclear antibodies ANA, a syphilis test. Urinalysis. Blood chemistries. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (Journal of American Medical News). Treatment There is no cure for Lupus. No specific drugs are used for Lupus. Some Medications used include: Naprosyn, Plaquenil, Steroids, Imuran (Journal of American Medical News). Four major components for treatment include: Adjustment of general life-style, changing behaviors and activities. Coping with emotional reactions, control stress and negative emotions Proper medication, helps suppress symptoms. Attention to diet and nutritional needs (Phillips 27, 30). Comparison of annual number of deaths from 1979 to 1989 1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 1979 1989 Annual number of deaths Source: Journal of American Medical Association, 2002, 20:1-4 Prevalance 90% of Lupus patients are women ages 15-45. Estimated that 500,000 to 4 million people have Lupus. Women are five times more likely to die than men. There has been a 70% increase in the number of African-American women dying from Lupus. Prognosis Can not be cured. Medication can be taken to ease pain, etc. Adjustment of general life-style, changing behaviors and activities. Coping with emotional reactions, control stress and negative emotions Proper medication, helps suppress symptoms. Attention to diet and nutritional needs (Phillips 27, 30). Pictures of Lupus & Diagram Leg Arm Hands Head Nose References Phalen, K.F. (2002). Progress on lupus:New clarity for a baffling disease. Journal of American Medical News, 287(20), 1-8. Phillips, R.H. (1984). Coping with lupus. New Jersey: Avery Publishing Group Inc. Sacks, J.J. (2002). Trends in Deaths from systemic lupus erythematosus-United States. Journal of American Medical News, 287(20), 1-4. Wallace, D.J. (2000). The lupus book: A guide for patients and their families. Oxford: Oxford Press.
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