North West Lupus Group

WHAT IS LUPUS?

  • Lupus is a chronic and currently incurable auto-immune disease.
    The patient’s own immune system attacks itself and causes inflammation.  It can affect any and every part of the body, including internal organs.
  • Lupus can produce many symptoms but the main ones are:
    • joint and muscle pain
    • fatigue
  • Other symptoms may include, but not exclusive to:
    • Rashes
    • Mouth ulcers
    • Hair loss
    • Headaches
    • Depression
    • This list is not exhaustive
  • Organs that are commonly affected by lupus are:
    • Kidneys
    • Skin
    • Heart
    • Lungs
    • Brain
  • The many varied symptoms of lupus overlap with so many other diseases making it difficult for GPs to diagnose it
  • We do not know what causes lupus. 3 factors are thought to be involved:
    • Hormones – 90% of lupus patients are female.
    • Genetics – Lupus patients often have a relative who has other autoimmune conditions
    • Environmental factors – such as sunlight or UV light
    • Viral infections, certain medications (drug induced lupus), stress, trauma, around puberty, after childbirth and the menopause can all also contribute.
  • Lupus is diagnosed through a combination of methods. The patient’s medical history will be gathered and a series of blood tests will be carried out.
  • Lupus is treatable. These are some of the treatments that may be used:
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories eg Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac
    • Anti-malarias eg hydroxychloroquine, mepacrine
    • Steroids
    • Immunosuppressants eg Azathioprine, Methotrexate, Mycophenolate, Ciclosporin
  • Biological therapies eg Rituximab, Belumimab
  • Living with Lupus
    • Become as educated as possible about Lupus. However,
      • Become a member of Lupus UK
    • Be open with family and friends about the unpredictability of Lupus
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends or health professionals
    • Learn to pace yourself
    • Try to keep your stress levels to a minimum
    • Find new hobbies, interests and skills, if you are able, if you are unable to continue your current activities