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Lupus, A Chronic, Autoimmune Disease Essay

1197 words - 5 pages

LupusMugs BlankAnatomy/PhysiologyPeriod 4January 9, 2002Lupus, is a chronic, autoimmune disease, which causes inflammation of various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, and kidneys. The body's immune system normally makes proteins called antibodies to protect the body against viruses, bacteria and other foreign materials. These foreign materials are called antigens. In an autoimmune disorder such as lupus, the immune system loses its ability to tell the difference between foreign substances (antigens) and its own cells and tissues. The immune system the make antibodies directed against "self". These antibodies, called "auto-antibodies," react with the "self" antigens to form immune complexes. The immune complexes build up in the tissues and can cause inflammation, injury to tissues, and pain.There are currently three types of lupus; Discoid lupus, Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and a lupus-like syndrome (called drug-induced lupus). Discoid lupus is limited to the skin and is identified by a rash that may appear on the face, neck, or scalp. The rash may be more apparent on areas of the skin exposed to ultraviolet light. Although there are many types of lupus rash, the most common is raised, scaly and red, but not itchy.Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is usually more severe than discoid lupus. This type of lupus can cause inflammation in a number of organs. For some people this may be limited to skin and joint involvement. In others, the joints, lungs, kidneys, blood or other organs and/or tissues may be affected. SLE may include periods in which few, if any, symptoms are evident and other times in which the disease becomes active.Certain prescribed drugs can create a lupus-like syndrome (called drug-induced lupus) which is similar to SLE. This type of lupus very rarely affects either the kidneys or the nervous system. The drugs most commonly connected with drug-induced lupus are hydralazine (used to treat hypertension) and procainamide (used to treat irregular heart rhythms). Not everyone who takes these drugs will develop drug-induced lupus. When the medications are discontinued, the symptoms of lupus usually fade.Each person with lupus is different. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may come and go over time. The most common symptoms of lupus include extreme fatigue, painful or swollen joints, unexplained fever, and skin rashes. A characteristic skin rash may appear across the nose and cheeks. There are several other rashes that appear on the face and ears, upper arms, shoulders, chest and hands. Many other symptoms of lupus include chest pain, hair loss, sensitivity to the sun, anemia (a decrease in red blood cells), and pale or purple fingers and toes from cold or stress. Some people experience headaches, dizziness, depression, or seizures. Different symptoms can appear at different times and will come and go.Common Symptoms of Lupus:Painful or swollen joints and muscle painUnexplained feverExtreme fatigueRed rash...

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