Lupus is a chronic condition that affects approximately 1.5 million Americans. It’s far from invisible in our world, yet not many people know what the disease entails. If you or a loved one has been recently diagnosed with lupus, Your Family Medical’s healthcare associates Bedford TX (locations also in Benbrook, Body and Lewisville) are here for you. Today’s post is dedicated to educating you and/or your loved ones on the basics of lupus.
What is Lupus?
More commonly known simply as “Lupus,” systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease. It affects several organs, including brain, kidneys, lungs and heart, impairing their ability to function due to inflammation. Lupus occurs more often in women than in men and especially during their reproductive years. Even though it falls into the chronic condition category, treatments have improved over time and are able to offer patients a great deal of help.
There are four different types of Lupus:
- Systemic lupus: This form of lupus impacts several of the body’s key organs
- Neonatal lupus: This [rare] form of lupus occurs at birth and is passed down from the baby’s mother
- Drug-induced lupus: This form of lupus is caused by a reaction to a medication and will often cease to exist once the medication is no longer in the patient’s system
- Cutaneous lupus erythematosus: This is the most common form of lupus, affecting the skin and sometimes causing hair loss
Just as with all autoimmune diseases, the impact of Lupus can be seen in many ways throughout a person’s body. (This is because autoimmune diseases cause the body’s immune system to fight against itself.) This results in damage to several key organs as well as symptoms such as:
- Increased sensitivity to the sun
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
- Increased chance of blood clots
- Irregular heartbeat
- Dry eyes
While there are several aspects of lupus that scientists are still uncovering, there are some facts about it we do know. Because of the high occurrence of lupus in women in their reproductive years, we know that there the cause is likely tied to hormones. It is also known that genetics and environmental factors each play a role in causing lupus.
If you or a loved one wants to learn more about the specifics of these causes, YFM has Bedford doctors accepting new patients (as well as at their Benbrook, Boyd and Lewisville locations) who would be able to help you. We also recommend visiting the Lupus Foundation of America for resources, educational material and more.
Lupus is a long-term (permanent) condition which currently has no cure. Treatments are focused on managing and minimizing the disease’s symptoms. This is most often approached with different types of medications, depending on each patient’s unique circumstances. Some of the more common medications include the following:
- Certain chemotherapy medications
- Monoclonal antibody medications (medications that reduce white blood cell activity)
Patients can also help reduce symptoms by limiting sun exposure, maintaining a heart-healthy diet and incorporating regular activity into their daily life.
Whether you’re looking for help managing a chronic condition or identifying the best way to get in shape (or just about anything in between) we’re here for you! Your Family Medical offers specialties such as internal medicine, geriatric medicine, hormone replacement therapy, preventative medicine and more. Get in touch today to learn more about how we can partner with you to help you achieve your best possible quality of life!