Hair fall usually happens to all people especially to those with long hair. Some cases are due to severely damaged scalp. However, if the hair loss becomes unusual and is accompanied by episodes of fever, rashes, and symptoms of kidney failure,it could be signs of more than just a damaged scalp.
One possible health condition that may give the mentioned symptoms above is lupus. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that is generally known to be the main cause of inflammation throughout the body. Additionally, it is when the immune system becomes aggressive and started to attack the normal tissues. From the word “autoimmune,” you can already tell that the main enemy of the entire body is your own immune system.
As mentioned, lupus is a chronic disease, which means most of its symptoms may last for a long time, or a lifetime. Thus, it is not contagious. Different medical professionals clearly state that lupus is not a disease that can be transferred from person to person.
Even though lupus isn’t a transferable disease, millions of people are still affected by it. Also, thousands of patients every year are reported to have lupus. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, lupus is not related to cancer or HIV/AIDS. However, there are numerous similarities present, but no one can consider them as one disease.
In HIV or AIDS, the immune system of a patient is underactive, while in lupus, it is overactive. Thus, lupus and cancer do not have any similarities when it comes to symptoms, but not in treatment. Many lupus patients are said to take immunosuppressants medications, and so with various cancer patients.
Aside from the mentioned symptoms above, there are other observable signs that can help both doctors and patients in diagnosing lupus. However, these symptoms may vary in every condition, considering that lupus has various types.
To help you on your search about lupus, here’s a list of the most diagnosed symptoms in most types.
Experiencing a sudden fever may be usual in many people. However, in lupus, the occurrence of fever may happen without any reason. Some lupus patients encounter an on and off body temperature ranging from 36.9 to 38.3 degree.
Inflammation is one of the most common symptoms in many kinds of diseases, but in lupus, the pulmonary system is the most inflamed area. When the lungs are damaged, there’s a possibility that the patient may encounter breathing issues and may shrink the size of the lungs.
Dry mouth and eyes
Many patients with lupus are experiencing dryness of mouth and eyes. This is generally due to the development of another autoimmune disease, the Sjogren’s disease. Based on the Lupus Foundation of America, Sjogren’s disease may damage the gland responsible for producing tears and saliva which can cause malfunctions.
Heartburn and acid reflux are the two most gastrointestinal problems that many lupus patients encounter. However, over-the-counter medicines can manage some mild symptoms.
As stated earlier, kidney problems can also be a sign of lupus. Swelling of a kidney may lead to malfunctions like filtering body toxins and separating health and waste nutrients of the blood.
All these mentioned symptoms are considered the earliest signs of lupus in a person. However, there are also other signs such as:
- Hair loss
- Thyroid Issues
- Swollen Joints
Causes and Risk Factors of Lupus
The exact cause of lupus is still unknown. However, because it is said to be an autoimmune disease, the main reason is the malfunctions of the immune system. Generally, the immune system is supposed to protect the body by fighting viruses, germs, and bacteria (antigens). To win over these antigens, the system produces antibodies or proteins with the help of white blood cells.
In lupus, the immune system cannot precisely determine the difference between antigens and healthy tissues. As a result, the antibodies from the system attacks both antigens and the normal tissues which cause pain, inflammation, and other damages.
Thus, you might ask the reason behind the malfunctions of the immune system. Nevertheless, there are various factors to consider. One of these factors is genes. According to the Genetics Home Reference, some genes are responsible for helping the immune system. These genes may also cause damage to the immune system. The organization also added that cell death could also be a factor. Your body undergoes a natural process of renewing the cells. Experts believe that genetic factors can affect the process of cell renewal and may keep the dead cells on the body. If this happens, dead cells may infect the immune system.
After all, you can already tell that anyone can have lupus. However, experts insisted that lupus patients have shown various similarities when it comes to risk factors. Below are some:
- Family History
- Too much exposure to sunlight
Regarding the age and gender, in the United States, cases of lupus are nine times higher in women than in men. Also, people ages from 15 to 45 years are the most diagnosed lupus patients, according to the Genetics Home Reference.
Just like in many other medical conditions, it is highly recommended to undergo the initial treatment process soon after diagnosing lupus. If not, complications may occur. UTI (urinary tract infections), respiratory failure, preeclampsia in pregnant women, and death of bone tissues are some of the possible health complications if lupus is left untreated.
To accurately diagnose lupus, there are numerous tests that a patient should undergo prior to declaring that he or she has lupus. One of these is the tissue biopsies. For further explanation of the proper diagnosing process, you can read one of the posted articles here.
To sum it all, lupus may affect any person regardless of age, race, or gender. However, the mentioned risk factors earlier are presented not to discourage anyone, but to raise awareness to the public purely.
Furthermore, helping lupus patients to overcome their emotional issues due to their disease can be considered a first-aid. Considering that lupus can affect not only the physical aspects of a person, but also the emotional and mental health, families should always show support to a lupus patient.