Lupus is a fairly complex and chronic autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks our own tissues and can affect different parts, such as the skin, joints, kidneys, etc.
This pathology was described for the first time in the Middle Ages. The word lupus is believed to come from ‘wolf’ in Latin. It was so named because one of the possible manifestations of this disease is an erythema in the form of butterfly wings on the face, which resembled the scratched face of a wolf.
It is one of the most frequent rheumatic diseases and, in addition, its incidence is increasing. It is estimated that about 5 million people in the world suffer from it. Therefore, below we will answer the most frequent questions about lupus.
What is lupus?
As we have already mentioned, it is an autoimmune disease. What happens is that the immune system produces antibodies that attack our own tissues because it recognizes them as foreign.
This reaction causes ongoing inflammation that damages tissues and organs. Therefore, lupus is also considered a chronic inflammatory disease. However, in reality, it occurs in the form of flare-ups and periods of inactivity.
The truth is that there are different types of lupus :
- Systemic lupus erythematosus : It is the most common and affects different parts of the body.
- Cutaneous : in it, only the skin is injured.
- Neonatal lupus : It is possible for a mother with lupus to pass the antibodies on to her baby and the baby will develop it.
- Triggered by medications.
What Causes Lupus? It’s contagious?
Currently, despite all the research, the cause of this disease is not exactly known. But it is known that it is not contagious or cancer, as some people believe. However, people who have a certain genetic predisposition can develop it due to external factors.
For example, it is known that there are some factors that can trigger an outbreak. Exposure to sunlight, certain infections, and some medications are the most commonly identified.
What are the most common symptoms?
Lupus is a very heterogeneous disease and its symptoms vary from person to person. In addition, it can affect practically any organ and occurs in the form of outbreaks, so it is complex to describe it.
When there is an outbreak, the most common is to find fever, weight loss, fatigue and joint pain. In fact, nearly 95% of people with lupus report symmetrical joint or muscle pain in small joints, such as the fingers.
In the case of cutaneous lupus, the best known is the butterfly-shaped rash that appears on the face. However, the injuries can be in different parts of the body. Typically, they get worse in sunlight.