Lupus is an immune system disease that can impact many different parts of the body. It often impacts the skin, the joints, and even the internal organs. Lupus sufferers have symptoms for many years in most cases.
Lupus happens when there is an issue with the immune system. The immune system is the body's way to ward off illness like viruses. In a healthy person, the immune system makes antibodies, proteins that keep this type of damage out of the body. However, people with lupus have an immune system that can't distinguish between the unhealthy invaders like bacteria and the healthy tissue. This causes the body to produce autoantibodies, which then launch an attack on healthy body tissues. Not only do the autoantibodies destroy viable healthy tissues, they also cause pain.
Some people are in higher risk groups for developing Lupus. Women are more likely than men to develop lupus, and it occurs mainly in women who are between 15 and 44. Women of color are more than twice as likely to develop lupus as caucasian women.
A lupus flare is a time when the symptoms grow more severe and the patient feels ill. The flares are interspersed with remissions, times during which the patient feels much better.
No, lupus is not contagious. It cannot be passed, even via sexual contact.
Flares (periods of active symptoms) are one of the frustrating parts of lupus for many patients. They can't always be predicted, but many patients can work with their doctor to make lifestyle changes that can reduce the amount of flares that they experience. These changes include a healthy diet, regular exercise, avoidance of stressful situations, and avoiding the sun. There are also a number of promising lupus medications that can help with symptoms.
At Internal Medicine & Family Practice, we accept most major medical insurance plans. Here is a short list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.