While May is filled with many fun and exciting special days, it is also important that this month highlights Lupus awareness. It is important to recognize the signs and effects of Lupus, just in case yourself or a loved one have the disease but have not been diagnosed yet. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. It causes inflammation that can affect many different systems within the body, such as the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. There are also a few different types of this deasease, all of which affect the body’s organs in different ways. The most common type of this disease is called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), which affects many parts of the body. Other types of lupus are:
- Cutaneous Lupus, which causes a rash or lesion on the skin, usually when exposed to sunlight.
- Drug-induced Lupus, similar to SLE, which is caused by an overreaction to certain medications. Symptoms usually disappear once the medicine is stopped.
- Neonatal Lupus, which occurs when an infant acquires auto-antibodies from its mother with SLE
Lupus is one of many autoimmune diseases that affect people around the world. Another common autoimmune disease that you may have heard of is rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that mainly affects the joints in the hands and feet. It affects joint linings, causing painful swelling and irritation. Over long periods of time, the constant inflammation can cause bone erosion and joint deformity, which is even more painful. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can often get confused with Lupus, as both are autoimmune diseases that share many of the same symptoms.
The most obvious similarity between RA and lupus is joint pain. Joint swelling is another common symptom, though the levels of inflammation can vary. Lupus and RA affect your energy levels as well. If you have either disease, you might feel constant fatigue or weakness. Having a periodic fever is another symptom of both diseases, but it’s more common with lupus. Both diseases are also more common in women than in men.
While they have many similar symptoms, it is important to be able to distinguish the differences between the two so you recognize each of them better. One of the main differences between the two is that Lupus might affect your joints, but it’s more likely to affect your internal organs and your skin than RA. Rheumatoid Arthritis on the other hand, primarily attacks your joints. Lupus is also more dangerous in the sense that it can cause life-threatening complications such as kidney failure, blood clots, and even seizures, all of which are not symptoms of RA.
Both diseases can cause extreme pain and discomfort, and can take a toll on not just physical health, but mental health as well. If you have been diagnosed with either of these diseases and are looking to lessen some of the pain that you are feeling, please feel free to contact us today. If you do not suffer from one of these autoimmune diseases but you are still looking to conquer mystery pain, please also feel free to contact us via our website. We look forward to helping you heal!