Lupus is rheumatologic disease which is autoimmune in nature. Autoimmune diseases are those where the body’s immune or defence system starts to harm its own cells, tissues and organs. 14 years back in a meeting attended by representatives of 13 different countries it was decided to mark May 10 as World Lupus Day to raise awareness about Lupus and other connective tissue disorders. Today World Lupus Day and World Lupus Month which runs from 10th May to 10th June are celebrated across all continents and countries of the world.
Medical science has made huge strides in the treatment of lupus. While for a long time we had no medicines for lupus except for steroids, today rheumatologists are using many conventional allopathic medicines and the newer biologic molecules to make lives of people with lupus better.
Apart from joints, lupus can affect many organs in the body including kidneys, heart, lungs, blood, lungs, brain, nerves and skin. The main symptoms of lupus are joint pains, joint swellings, photosensitivity (redness of face on exposure to sun and heat), red skin rash on nose and nearby area (butterfly rash), ulcers in the mouth, excessive hair fall etc. Due to its effect on various organs, lupus can cause anaemia, fluid in lungs and heart, kidney failure, paralysis or heart attack.
According to various research studies across the world, the prevalence of lupus and other connective disorders is estimated to be between 2 to 3 percent. If we extrapolate these figures to Udaipur district, we are staring at a staggering 60,000 people affected by one or other connective tissue disease. Common symptoms of other connective tissue diseases are excessive dryness of mouth and eyes, red skin rashes, swelling on the cheek, swelling of tear and salivary glands, pale or blue finger and toes in cold weather, tightening and thickening of skin, difficulty in breathing, difficulty in swallowing food, ulcers on tips of fingers or toes, ulcers in mouth, genitals and legs, weakness and pain in shoulders and hips etc.
Research has enabled us to understand the reasons for these diseases and the changes that occur in the body at cellular and molecular levels. While for a long time treatment of these diseases has been very tough because of limited effective options, today effective medicines are available, which when used judiciously can help patients lead a healthy life.
Contributed by: Dr Mohit Goyal. He is Rheumatologist & Clinical Immunologist (Arthritis Specialist) at CARE Pain & Arthritis Centre, Udaipur. He can be contacted at email@example.com