Although it’s not clear how many people are living with Lupus in the UAE or globally, it is clear that a large number of the population is affected. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), the most common type of Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect various body parts. Lupus occurs when your immune system attacks your body’s organs and tissues, causing widespread inflammation and in some individuals, it can cause permanent tissue damage. Lupus can attack your lungs, brain, kidneys, skin, joints, and blood vessels.
Although it’s not clear what causes Lupus, experts believe that a combination of genetic and environmental elements like stress, infections, and medication can trigger this condition. However, you are at risk of developing Lupus if;
· Gender - Everybody can get Lupus but it affects more women than men
· Family history – You’re at a higher risk of developing Lupus if your relatives have Lupus
· Age - Although you can get Lupus at any age, it is common in individuals who are between the ages of 15 and 44
· Race - Did you know that Lupus is more likely to affect people of color than other ethnicities?
Lupus has various symptoms and it affects everyone differently. Some individuals might experience severe symptoms while others get mild symptoms. Symptoms start from early adulthood usually in your teens into your 30s. If you have Lupus, you experience flare-ups of symptoms and then periods of remission.
This is why it’s easy to dismiss early symptoms. Early symptoms of Lupus are similar to symptoms of other conditions having them does not necessarily mean you have Lupus. Symptoms to watch out for include:
One of the earliest signs of Lupus is having unexplained fever. The temperature is usually between 36.9 degrees Celsius and 38.3 degrees Celsius – that’s why you might not be alarmed. If you have Lupus, you might experience fevers on and off.
It is crucial to consult the best general practitioners Dubai clinics whenever you experience recurring symptoms. Unexplained fevers in Lupus occur several times over 3 weeks. Fever can be caused by active disease or as a result of the skin, urinary tract, lungs, or sinuses.
Fatigue is a significant part of living with Lupus. No matter how long you sleep, you still feel tired and without energy. You can experience mental or physical exhaustion and it might feel like having the flu.
Almost everyone with Lupus experiences fatigue at some point. The more you experience fatigue, the more it escalates. You can also experience fatigue from other conditions or medication that is why it is not advisable to self-diagnose.
Did you know that you can experience hair loss from Lupus? Lupus causes widespread inflammation throughout your body and can affect your skin. Inflammation of the skin can cause hair loss or lashes on your face or scalp.
A few patients might notice hair loss in clumps while others experience gradual thinning of their hair. You might also notice hair loss on your body, beard, brows, and lashes. The 2 types of alopecia include scarring where your hair follicles are destroyed by inflammation and cannot regrow.
Non-scarring means that you still have hair follicles and your hair can regrow. Discoid Lupus causes scarring alopecia, however, early detection before scarring occurs you can see hair regrowth.
Hair loss can be one of the first indications of Lupus. Most patients with Lupus, experience some form of hair loss. It occurs during the onset of the condition but it can also develop because of certain treatments and medication prescribed to control severe Lupus conditions. If you are experiencing hair loss, consult a doctor to establish the cause.
You are likely to have a skin rash if you have Lupus. There are 3 types of Lupus lesions;
· Acute cutaneous lesions - Also known as the butterfly rash which is a mild red rash on your face
· Subacute cutaneous lesions – These can develop into red raised bumps that increase in size and grow scales with time. They can also form a flat irritation on your skin that develops outwards but does not form a scar.
· Chronic discoid lesions – These are red or pink bumps that rise minimally above the surface, become crusty, and scars.
The butterfly rash does not leave a scar as it heals; it is a mild lesion. It’s easy to confuse this lesion with other conditions like rosacea. Some people are severely affected and develop pimple-like eruptions or blisters on the skin. Although the butterfly rash develops on the face, it can develop elsewhere on your body.
Lupus impacts patients in different ways and many have kidney problems. Kidney inflammation caused by Lupus is known as Lupus nephritis can make the kidneys stop functioning. When your kidneys stop working, waste builds up in your blood and excess water builds up in your body.
Lupus nephritis is common in individuals between the ages of 20 to 40 and usually starts 5 years after your initial Lupus symptoms. Although in the first stages you might not notice any symptoms of Lupus nephritis, the symptoms become clear as the condition progresses. They include;
· Foamy urine
· Swelling usually in the ankles, feet, face, or legs
· High blood pressure
· Excessive peeing, especially at night.
Lupus causes widespread inflammation in your body and can affect the lungs in various ways. Inflammation in the lungs can spread to lung blood vessels. Pleuritis is the most common pulmonary issue caused by Lupus.
Pleuritis is the inflammation of the pleura, the lining on the outside of your lungs. You might experience severe, sharp, stabbing pain in a specific area(s) of your chest. The pain (pleurisy) gets worse when you sneeze, cough, take a deep breath, or laugh.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your tissues and organs. Although Lupus has no cure, treatment can help to manage the condition. Lupus can have similar symptoms with other conditions that is why it is vital to consult experts like the best general practitioners Dubai offices.
Dha-medical Education Department
Dubai Health Authority Medical Education Department, Um Hurair 1
Little Feet Early Learning Center
Al Quoz Ind 03, Al Qoze Industrial 3
Belhoul European Hospital (l.l.c.)
Al Diyafah, Al Bada