Lupus, an autoimmune disease strikes about one in two thousand people. Women are eight to ten times more likely to have lupus than men. Many of its symptoms mimic other diseases so it usually takes more than a year to make a definite diagnosis. Most often women from age twenty to forty are diagnosed with the disease although it can occur in either gender and after age fifty it is equally common to both men and women.
The person with lupus may look perfectly normal to family and friends or even Doctors. The disease can cause nausea, weight loss, and muscle weakness, as well as chronic inflammation in many different parts of the body, including the skin, muscles, and the joints, lymph nodes, and spleen.
The majority of people with lupus usually live full and normal lives. Although lupus is not a true form of arthritis; it is a connective-tissue disease and is classified as a rheumatic disease as the symptoms usually include swelling and joint pain.
Some people with lupus do develop symptoms of arthritis though only a few will suffer the deformities associated with more severe forms of that disease.
To date, there are no known cures for the disease. The causes of lupus are still a mystery; although it is thought that there could be an inherited predisposition to the disease. Some external trigger, perhaps a virus, could be responsible for starting the disease process in genetically predisposed people. Environmental factors, such as an injury, or an infection could contribute to the disease.
The biggest problem comes when trying to diagnose the disease. No two people present the same symptoms. The symptoms can include weight and hair loss, sores in the mouth, and some will get throat and facial swelling.
If the patient has a history of rheumatoid arthritis in their immediate family or a history of some other autoimmune disease, that could be a clue to determining if lupus is actually present. Joint inflammation for instance, would suggest arthritis; but if the inflammation is accompanied with a rash on the body consistent with lupus, the diagnosis is clearer. If there is inflammation around the lungs and the heart, that could be a further clue that lupus could be present.
The range of joints affected in lupus is almost the same ones that are affected in rheumatoid arthritis. While any joint in the body can be affected; it is usually the wrists, the large knuckles at the base of the fingers, and the middle finger joints. Knees fall victim to lupus more often than the hips. As a general rule, lupus patients seldom suffer any joint deformity.
Your diet, exercise and the proper amount of rest all play a significant role in the management of the disease. If you tire easily when going about your daily tasks; stop, take a break and don't overdo it. If you get over tired, that could cause a flare-up. Try to keep your stress levels at a minimum.
Exercise is important to maintain overall body health. It not only gives you more joint flexibility, makes you feel good, look better and live longer.
Last, but not least, your diet is very important, as it is with any arthritic condition. Best thing to do is consult with your Doctor and let him recommend a diet suitable for you.