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The Lupus Impact on Immune System

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Table of contents

  1. Cause
  2. Symptoms
  3. Diagnosis
  4. Treatments and Outcomes
  5. Summary
  6. Opinion

The immune system protects our bodies against things such as bacteria. The disease lupus attacks the immune system. Lupus is described as the development of harmful pathogens that damage tissue (Lee & Bae, 2010). When afflicted with Lupus, the immune system attacks organs and itself. Many Americans are diagnosed with Lupus. Women and people of color have significantly higher chance of being diagnosed with Lupus. Of those identified with Lupus, 90% are women. (Jewett-Tennant, 2019). The statistics surrounding Lupus show how at-risk women and other ethnic backgrounds are, specifically that women that are of color are at a high risk for being diagnosed with Lupus.

Cause

The cause of Lupus is not known, but the scientific community thinks genetics may be a factor of Lupus. The author states, “The etiology of these ethnic disparities is a matter of ongoing debate, with genetic and non-genetic factors being implicated” (Lanata, 2018). No single gene has been proven yet to be the cause of Lupus; however, it appears to be passed down along with DNA. If Lupus runs in a family’s genetic line, the family members have a high chance of being diagnosed with Lupus.

[bookmark: _Hlk20497836][bookmark: _Hlk20497142]Lupus affects the body negatively in many ways by breaking down the immune system. The immune system cells see the body as a threat and attack itself and B cells and T cells become hyperactive. The body is attacked in stages by Lupus, with each stage progressively becoming worse. The first stage includes things such as seizures and valvular disease. The second stage is inflammation and the third stage is organ damage (Eder, 2013). This disease destroys the body in every way possible. Seizures alone can be detrimental to one’s health. This disease causes seizures and valvular heart disease in the first couple years of having Lupus. In the next couple of years, Lupus causes so much inflammation that it leads to atherosclerosis, a disease of the arteries characterized by the deposit of plaques of fatty material on the inner walls of the arteries. The last stage of Lupus destroys the organs in our bodies. The organs are attacked by the immune system, which now sees the organs as a threat. This can cause the affected person to be in a great deal of pain as well as possibly having to wait on a donor list so they can receive the transplant of a donated organ.

Stress is a big player in one’s psychological mind set and this disease causes an immense amount of stress and pain. The psychological impacts of such a ravishing disease can be depression and anxiety. Feelings of depression and anxiety are correlated with those living with Lupus (Auerbach & Beckerman, 2011). Patients with this diagnosis lose the ability to take care of themselves. Not being able to take yourself to the store, go on a walk, or even go to your favorite restaurant could cause depression in anyone. Many sufferings from Lupus have anxiety caused by the fear of another flare up (see the next section on “Symptoms”) and not knowing when it is may happen.

Symptoms

Lupus causes fatigue, illness, fever, and weight loss. Individuals who are suffering from Lupus typically have joint pain, and muscle weakness. People with Lupus are never exactly the same as they may have different symptoms at different times. Individuals diagnosed with Lupus have episodes referred to as flare ups. Flare ups are when symptoms get worse for a time period, and then improve. The symptoms for Lupus have a lot of diversity because of the disease’s extreme impact on the body (McMillen). The author states, “In addition, Raynaud’s, fatigue, fever, joint pain, myalgia, pleuritic pain, skin bleeding, skin rash, photosensitivity, leg edema and thrombosis” can be induced by Lupus (Leuchten, 2018). With Lupus one could have a fever and joint pain one day, and then have skin bleeding another. The impacted individual could have a flare up for a week and not again for another year.

Diagnosis

No single test can say that a person has Lupus. That is why there are several tests to confirm a diagnosis. Test such as Mycobacterium PCR, histopathology, and a ZN stain are tests that help diagnose patients suffering from Lupus (Rhodes, 2013). The medical professional will look at medical history and symptoms to determine if the diagnosis should be Lupus in a patient. Medical professionals depend on laboratory findings and clinical aspects even experience doctors have a hard time diagnosing lupus (McDougall, 2018). Because Lupus can vary so much from person to person, it is hard for medical professionals to be able to diagnosis individuals accurately. This is why doctors and medical professionals depend so much on laboratory findings and medical history.

Treatments and Outcomes

There is no final cure for Lupus, only treatment to relive the symptoms with medication and life style changes. The treatments for Lupus are NSAIDs, Anti-Malarial Drugs including Plaquenil, steroids, immunosuppressive medications and DHEA. The treatments ease the symptoms, soothe inflammation, limited a flare ups, and even block organ damage (Lupus Treatments & Medications for Rash and Other Complications). The drugs try to prevent symptoms before they happen by not allowing the body’s degeneration process to speed up. The treatments prevent the immune cell from destroying themselves. With every treatment there is negative draw-back. Some of the draw-backs of treatments for Lupus include peptic ulcers, bleeding internally, heart attacks, strokes, blurred vision, light sensitivity, nausea, weight gain, diabetes, infections, muscle weakness, and even osteoporosis (Administrator). The symptoms that could be created from this disease are nothing compared to the side effects of the disease itself.

The treatments prevent or decrease inflammation which helps with things such as joint pain. They also aid in relieving flare-ups so that you can live your life with minimal pain, as well as preventing organ damage which would cause the patient to get a transplant or could cause death. Life style change would be another treatment to help prevent symptoms becoming worse. What you put in to your body and how you treat it will directly affect your health. Eating healthy and exercising regularly will help the fight against this disease.

Summary

Lupus is a disease that damages parts of the body. The cause of Lupus is not known. Anyone can get Lupus, but women are most at risk and African-American chances are doubled. Lupus has many symptoms and some are more common than others. No one individual test can diagnose Lupus, so you might go undiagnosed for a long time. Your doctor may look at your medical history, and do a skin biopsy as ways of testing for the disease. The goals of the treatment plan are to prevent flare-ups and reduce organ damage. Lupus can take a massive toll on one’s psychological mind set, causing depression and anxiety, so people with Lupus need to find positive activities. Having a good support system when struggling with something as terrible as Lupus will make a world of difference.

Opinion

I think Lupus is a terrifying disease which I hope I am never diagnosed with. It destroys your body bit by bit. There is no cure for Lupus and, although in most cases it is not fatal, I can imagine how much pain a person could be in day by day. My uncle is actually dealing with the process of being diagnosed currently which made me decide to write about Lupus. After learning so much about it from the research I have done, I can help him decide the best treatments for him and what the future might possibly look like.

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