With more and more cases of lupus, also referred to as systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE, being registered every year, awareness regarding this particular disease has become essential. An inflammatory disease, lupus refers to an autoimmune condition where the immune system of the body attacks and damages the tissues all over the very body. Causing moderate to severe pain in the affected areas, if not treated early, lupus can even damage various organs of the body. Let’s delve deeper into more information regarding lupus to find out whether it can actually kill someone.
The immune system is a special part of the body that fights off the invasion of the various germs, bacteria, and viruses while keeping the body protected and strong from infections. When something wrong happens to this very immune system, it damages the body, instead of protecting it, as it fails to distinguish between the healthy tissue of the body and the foreign invaders, producing autoantibodies that cause inflammation, pain and damages of the various parts of the body, developing lupus.
Some people can have lupus without having undergone any symptoms of it at all or even if they have, the symptoms are very mild to notice. For others, with a moderate or severe form of lupus, the symptoms can be very much visible, depending on the particular area of the body that is inflamed. Some of the most common symptoms of lupus are:
- Chest pain during breathing
- Unexplained fever and headache
- Sudden hair loss, sensitivity to the sun or light
- Extreme tiredness, rashes on the nose and cheeks
- Swollen joints (especially in the knees, fingers, and wrists)
- Fingers turning white or blue in the cold
Diagnosis and Treatment
Apart from observing the presence of the symptoms, various laboratory tests are performed to diagnose the presence of lupus. The presence of the particular proteins in the blood, i.e. ANA or antinuclear antibodies help in determining the severity of lupus. As far as the effective treatment for lupus is concerned, as there is no cure, there are various anti-inflammatory meds and steroids available for treating and controlling this immune complex disease.
Can Lupus Kill a Person?
Despite being a serious autoimmune condition, it’s true that almost around 80-90% people who have this disease live a normal life. Yes, lupus can be rarely fatal. However, for those who suffer a severe form of tissue damage and fails to control the excessive flare-ups, lupus can turn out to be life-threatening indeed. Overwhelming infection and kidney failure are two of the most common causes of death due to lupus. If not treated properly, lupus also increases the risk of damage to the blood vessels as well as the heart, which may result in severe inflammation, resulting in death.
Remember, lupus is one such condition that can be controlled with proper timely treatment, but can never be completely cured. While for some, this particular inflammatory disease can last lifelong, for some it can show its effects for years. In case one notices any symptoms of lupus, he or she is strongly advised to opt for necessary medical attention as soon as possible.