All You Need to Know About Lupus, the Autoimmune Disease

All You Need to Know About Lupus, the Autoimmune Disease

The immune system plays a key role in protecting the body against disease development. A strong immune system can support the body's natural defense mechanisms against infectious organisms and other disease-causing agents. 

However, the immune system can also trigger the development of some diseases when it begins to function in an abnormal way. And the result could be allergies diseases or autoimmune disorders. 

Allergic diseases occur due to the hypersensitive reaction of the immune cells to certain allergens while autoimmune disorders occur due to the failure of the immune cells to recognize the body's own tissues. 

Lupus is one of the autoimmune disorders known to have a poor prognosis. However, the use of natural supplements might improve the symptoms of lupus and improve the patient's quality of life. 

Here is a brief discussion about what lupus means, the symptoms and causes of this condition, and the best natural remedies to manage this condition in a safe and effective way. 


What is Lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that develops when the immune cells attack the body's own tissues and organs resulting in their destruction. This results in repeated damage to the healthy tissues triggering widespread chronic inflammation affecting multiple organs of the body including the joints, kidneys, blood cells, skin, brain, lungs, and heart. [1] [2]

The diagnosis of lupus is difficult as the signs and symptoms caused due to it often mimic those of other conditions. The most distinctive features of lupus include a facial rash unfolding across both the cheeks, resembling the wings of a butterfly. 

Skin rashes, though a common feature of lupus, may also occur in patients with other skin disorders. [3]

What makes lupus a major cause of concern is there is no cure for this condition. Most modern treatments for lupus are aimed at relieving the symptoms and inhibiting the progress of the condition. Also, these treatments work by suppressing the activities of the immune cells putting patients at risk of repeated infections. 

Hence, there is a need to adopt natural ways to manage lupus to reduce the symptoms as well as to slow down or inhibit further tissue damage. 


What are the Signs and Symptoms of Lupus?

The symptoms of lupus tend to vary widely among different patients. The symptoms often develop suddenly, though in some cases, they may develop slowly over a period of time. The severity as well as the duration of the symptoms changes from one patient to another. 

Most patients with lupus have a milder form of the disease characterized by recurring episodes of flaring up of the symptoms. These episodes last for a short duration. The flare-up of the symptoms is followed by a gradual improvement or even complete disappearance lasting for a variable duration of time. [4]

The cycles repeat with patients experiencing alternative periods of exacerbations followed by brief periods when they are largely asymptomatic. [5]

The symptoms of lupus depend on the specific body systems that are affected by the condition. 

The most common symptoms of this disease include:

  • Butterfly-shaped skin rash covering the cheeks and the bridge of the nose 
  • Severe fatigue
  • Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness 
  • Fever
  • Rashes on other parts of the body
  • Skin lesions that develop or worsen following sun exposure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Whitish or bluish discoloration of the fingers and toes during stressful periods or when exposed to cold 
  • Dryness of the eyes
  • Memory loss

What are the Risk Factors for Lupus? 

Lupus, being an autoimmune disease, occurs when the immune system attacks the healthy tissue in your body. Lupus is believed to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

People who have a family history of autoimmune disorders or those with an inherited predisposition may develop lupus when they are exposed to environmental triggers. However, in most cases, the exact cause or trigger for lupus can not be identified. [6] [7]

Some potential triggers and risk factors for lupus include:

  • The incidence of this condition is higher in women than in men. 
  • While lupus can affect people of all ages, it is usually diagnosed at the age of 15 to 40 years.
  • Lupus is more common in Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian Americans.
  • Exposure to the sun can trigger the development of typical lesions on the skin by stimulating an abnormal immune response in susceptible patients.
  • Some infective conditions can initiate lupus as well as cause a relapse of this condition.
  • Lupus may be triggered due to the side effects of some medications including antihypertensive and anti-seizure drugs, and antibiotics. Patients who develop drug-induced lupus usually have a better prognosis as the symptoms are like to resolve once they stop using those medications. However, in rare cases, the symptoms may persist even after the medication is stopped.

What are the Complications of Lupus?

  • Widespread inflammation caused due to lupus can affect kidney functions putting patients at risk of renal failure. Renal failure is also one of the leading complications responsible for a high risk of mortality in patients with lupus.
  • The inflammation in the brain caused due to lupus can impair cognitive functions. As a result, patients may experience frequent headaches, dizziness, behavioral changes, problems in vision, and even seizures and strokes. 
  • Some patients with lupus also experience a decline in memory and have difficulty in expressing their emotions and thoughts.
  • Chronic inflammation in the cardiac muscles, arteries, or the membrane of the heart can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks, significantly.
  • Inflammation in the bone marrow and blood vessels can reduce the red blood cell count leading to anemia, an increased risk of bleeding, and abnormal blood clotting. 
  • Lupus can contribute to inflammatory damage to the lungs and the mucosal lining of the chest cavity, making breathing painful. Pneumonia and bleeding into the lungs are also common complications in lupus patients.



[1] Lupus
[2]Medically Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo, MD, Lupus, May 2020
[3]Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
[4]Mayo Clinic, Lupus
[6]Glinda S Cooper , Mary Anne Dooley, Edward L Treadwell, E William St Clair, Gary S Gilkeson, October 2002, PMID: 12464374, DOI: 10.1016/s0895-4356(02)00429-8
[7]William Maidhof, PharmD and Olga Hilas, PharmD, MPH, BCPS, CGP, Lupus: An Overview of the Disease And Management Options, 2012 April, PMCID: PMC3351863, PMID: 22593636
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