Lupus is one of the most difficult diseases in detecting. Doctors normally take months and years together to find out the accurate treatment for its diagnosis. This is due to the fact that the symptoms of the lupus do not causes serious illnesses. The effectiveness of the disease differs from individual to individual because it may cause serious life threatening problems in some patients and some may have very mild effects that are affecting the organs.
Lupus is one of the chronic auto immune disorders that targets on the skin, kidneys, blood and the joints. Normally, a healthy immune system protects the body against the disease causing harmful bacteria and viruses but the patient suffering from lupus are more prone to such infections and diseases since their immune system is not capable of differentiating the foreign substance and the body’s own tissues and cells. In this situation, the antibodies are made to direct against itself by the immune system and this results in the formation of immune complexes. These immune complexes form clusters, which causes swelling and joint stiffness leading to tissue injury and also severe pain in some patients.
Some of the symptoms of the lupus are:
Fatigue: The most common and the prominent feature of lupus is the fatigue and almost every patient who suffers from lupus says that the fatigue due to lupus is unnatural.
Aches and Pains: Joint pains and the muscle pains are the most common heard symptoms from the lupus patients. Lupus may result in symptoms similar to ‘flu-like’ symptoms. This lupus not only affects the tendons and the joints but also affects the muscles.
Fevers and Rashes: One of the features of the flare of the lupus is fever. Patients tend to face often fever when they are developing lupus at initial stages. Even they witness the rashes on the skin all over the body. In most of the cases, rashes can be detected on the regions like cheese, neck area, palms and on the soles. These rashes often go and come back again which will be having the pinkish discoloration, causing blisters and blood spots appearance.
Hair loss and Headaches: Patient suffering from lupus first notices heavy hair loss, but the lost hair can be gained back soon after the completion of the treatment. Some patients tend to develop migraine type of head aches and the important cause for this is the formation of sticky type of blood due to the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies in them.
Depression: Depression may be caused due to the heavy pain and the tiredness. This is the primary feature of the lupus. This can also be diagnosed with the successful treatment given to the patient.
Treatments: It is very unfortunate that most of the patients suffering from lupus are wrongly diagnosed and most of the times they are treated by thinking it as ‘atypical multiple sclerosis’. The diagnosis part for the diseases like lupus is critical hence lupus suspected individuals are needed to undergo some blood tests to confirm the disorder.
Lupus blood tests
Normally, there are 5 major blood tests done in order to confirm the lupus and they are mentioned below:
Antinuclear antibody (ANA)
This is very important test in order to find out lupus because the presence of antibodies against the double stranded DNA confirms the lupus. It happens only in the case of lupus and not in any other health issues. The amount of antibodies present helps doctors to continue their medication, helps in knowing the ups and downs of the disease.
ENA and Antiphospholipid antibodies
ENA referred as ‘extractable nuclear antigens’ are the special forms of antibodies found in lupus. Anitphospholipid antibodies causes clotting of blood and most of the miscarriages in women is due to the over presence of these type of antibodies. There is an increased risk of lupus and miscarriages in women due to the clotting nature of blood especially in veins and arteries. It leads to the thrombosis of placenta in the pregnant women finally leading to miscarriage.
The word ‘complement’ refers to the group or clusters of certain proteins that are involved in proper functioning of the immune system. When these complements are low in lupus patients, they provide the clue about the disease activity and its severity.
The overall treatment for lupus includes an effective diagnosis to minimize the symptoms like reducing the painful swellings, maintaining normal body functions. If it is detected at the early stages, the time and the money spending on the curing of the disease can be minimized.