Do you think you have lupus? Take the test now

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or lupus is a lifelong illness wherein the body’s immune system, which is supposed to protect it from infection and disease, turns on itself and attacks the body’s organs. Lupus can involve the skin, muscles, bones and joints, blood, kidneys, lungs, brain, and even the heart. This may result in damage to the affected organs.
Lupus is more common in young women, and the first symptoms are usually felt in their 20s to 30s. However, lupus can also affect men, the elderly, and even children!
Lupus is more widespread than most people think. It is therefore important to be aware of lupus and its symptoms.

What do you feel when you have lupus?

Lupus is challenging not just to patients but also to physicians. It is not very easy to diagnose because of its diversity — it can present in many different ways depending on the involved part of the body. Here are some causes that may trigger lupus:

  • Genes
  • Infections
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Stress
  • Too much exposure to sunlight
  • Pregnancy

A tell-tale sign of lupus is a butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and bridge of the nose. Other common skin problems include sensitivity to the sun with flaky, red spots or a scaly, purple rash on various parts of the body, including the face, neck, and arms. Some people also develop mouth sores.

The more common symptoms of lupus include:

  • Achy or painful joints and muscles
  • Fever without a known cause
  • Unexplained fatigue; “parang low-batt”
  • Rashes, especially across the cheeks and bridge of nose (usually caused by sun exposure)
  • Excessive hair loss and balding
  • Frequent mouth ulcers (“singaw”)
  • Anemia
  • Kidney problems
  • Fingers that turn white/blue with cold exposure
  • Shortness of breath
One, some, or all of these may occur in people with lupus.

How do I know if I have lupus?

The diagnosis of lupus has improved greatly in the past decades due to several factors that include increased awareness of the condition, well-defined diagnostic criteria and highly specific laboratory tests for the disease.
If you know someone who has the above symptoms, encourage him/her to consult a rheumatologist (a specialist of lupus and other arthritis). If there is none in the area, it is good to consult internists, family practitioners, or other specialists who will guide them to the proper medical facility and practitioner.
Blood tests, such as complete blood count (CBC), creatinine, anti-nuclear antibody (or ANA); a urinalysis; and others will be requested, and the results will be interpreted along with the person’s signs and symptoms.
Sometimes it is difficult to diagnose lupus because it may have the same symptoms as with many other illnesses; therefore consulting a rheumatologist is the best thing to do.

Is there a cure for lupus?

Much like most other chronic illnesses, such as hypertension and diabetes, there is NO KNOWN CURE for lupus. However, IT CAN BE MANAGED AND CONTROLLED. With proper treatment, patients with lupus have an excellent chance to live healthy and normal lives.
There are medicines that are used to control the symptoms of lupus to make the patient feel well, and even induce remission, as if lupus is not there and as if you are not sick!
These may be taken by mouth or can be injected, and will be prescribed by the doctor once a diagnosis of lupus is made.
It is important to avoid self-medicating and use of herbal and alternative medicines that may potentially do more harm than good.