In 2004, May 10 was set as World Lupus Day. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, difficult to diagnose and it can take a while for specialists to know what they are dealing with. It can attack the joints, lungs, blood vessels, brain, kidneys, skin or heart.
Why is lupus an autoimmune disease?
The variety of where it manifests itself, causes it to be very difficult to diagnose. It is an autoimmune disease because it causes the body’s own immune system to attack healthy tissues and cells in the body.
The name of the disease derives from the fact that it manifests itself with red spots on the skin. Although they do not always appear, these spots look like the bite of a wolf, hence the word lupus.
However, when they do appear they are accompanied by other internal conditions in the body. This is why the disease has a more complex name, systemic lupus erythematosus.
Young African American women are the most affected by the disease
It is most prevalent in women, at a ratio of 10 to 1. It is two to three times more common in African-American women. It tends to occur more often in women of childbearing age because of female sex hormones.
Symptoms reported by patients include tiredness, fatigue, and joint swelling. Rashes in the dermis and fever of varying severity may occur. Lupus patients show sensitivity to the sun, and therefore it is recommended to avoid sun exposure.
Lupus affects a large number of people. In Spain alone the proportion is 9 cases per 10 thousand people. The disease presents in the organism antibodies that are anti-DNA. These antibodies are what prevent the doctor from being able to diagnose the disease early.
Lupus is also a disease with genetic content. It is possible for several individuals in the same family to have it at the same time or to have other autoimmune diseases.
Treatment includes a drug used against covid 19
To treat the disease, doctors recommend, in addition to not exposing yourself to the sun, also avoid hormonal treatments. In addition to leading a quiet life, avoiding stress.
Treatment includes the use of hydroxychloroquine which is a drug indicated for malaria or malaria. This drug gained notoriety during the covid 19 pandemic. It was given in some countries with good results.
Hydroxychloroquine is the mainstay of lupus treatment because it benefits the immune system. Only in more extreme cases are immunosuppressants such as corticosteroids used.
So far, there is no treatment that definitively cures the disease. The drugs mentioned above only make the patients feel better. There are many occasions when the diagnosis is made after visiting several specialists.
Genetic map created that can facilitate lupus research
In recent times, medicine made great strides through biological therapies and biological treatments. This opens a hope in obtaining a treatment or drug that definitively cures lupus.
Scientists at the University of Tokyo created a genetic atlas. It is the first of its kind. It is a genetic database based on ten autoimmune diseases including lupus.
The data included in this genetic map is provided by scientists from different parts of the globe. Scientists believe it will simplify the analysis and study of each of these diseases.