As you know that I am a practising doctor and during my practice patients of autoimmune diseases are the most difficult to manage. They are of a chronic variety and due to autoimmune nature of the disease their own body is fighting is fighting against them. So continuous medication and earliest diagnosis is the cornerstone to control this disease. Rheumatoid arthritis, S. L. E.,ankylosing spondylitis are one of those few diseases that require proper diagnosis and timely management so that the disease can be checked before it causes serious damage. So I am going to describe some of the symptoms that we find in the OPD.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease which is quite prevalent among women. Though men also get Lupus but the frequency is very less. Many authorities claim the ratio to be nine to one. Systemic Lupus is the commonest variety of Lupus which is a chronic inflammatory disease of autoimmune origin. The professional bodies around the world have led down certain criteria for the physicians to diagnose Lupus.
But there are certain common signs and symptoms that can easily be identified a common person to suspect that if a person is suffering from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.
When the patient goes out in the sun reddish spots are found in a butterfly pattern over the nose and the cheeks. This is characteristically known as “butterfly rash”. Butterfly rash is characteristic of systemic Lupus. But patients with Discoid Lupus devil of circular patches of rash or scaly skin lesions after sun exposure.
The patient may have joint pain and maybe stiffness in multiple joins that is lasting for more than three months. Chest pain after exercise can indicate towards lungs involvement. Mental disorders can also be a key factor in finding out whether the person is suffering from CNS involvement of systemic Lupus. The CNS involvement can be manifested as hallucinations depression, confusion, loss of memory or even seizures.
In cold the person’s fingers maybe becoming pale,numb due to Raynaud’s phenomenon. Protein in urine suggests proteinuria. Anaemia with low blood cell counts leading to fatigue and frequent infections is an indicator of chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease.
Hair loss can be the first marker of Lupus.
Though these symptoms can indicate that the patient might be suffering from systemic Lupus, still then it is prudent to consult your doctor for the diagnosis and proper management of this dreaded multisystemic disease.
In my next instalment I’ll be providing information about other multisystemic diseases and autoimmune diseases. Till then goodbye.
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