Lupus Erythematosus is a chronic, autoimmune disease, which affects mostly women in their late teens to early thirties. Once developed, it is extremely hard, and at most times impossible to cure. Few have ever completely reversed the disease, and there is no proven scientific method to cure this condition.
There are different types of Lupus Erythematosus, and systematic and cutaneous are the most common. This disease also most commonly affects the Central Nervous System (CNS) as well as muscles, tissues and joints. It can cause fatigue, and in most cases, a butterfly shaped skin rash will develop on the face, which covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose.
Other complications in Lupus patients can be few and far between or many and frequent. A lot depends on how diligently the patient keeps up with maintenance of the disease.
According to studies conducted by The New York Times, about 85% of Lupus patients have some type of blood complication or disorder that will develop as the disease progresses. The following are a few of the more common blood complications found in Lupus patients.
- Anemia: Approximately 50 percent of Lupus patients are anemic. This includes iron deficiencies from excessive menstruation or gastrointestinal bleeding caused by some of the treatments.
- Hemolytic Anemia: A specific type of anemia which destroys red blood cells.
- Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS): Between 35 and 45 percent of Lupus patients and especially those with SLE (Systematic Lupus Erythematosus) have this condition. This results from auto-antibodies found specifically in Lupus patients. This syndrome often results in blood clots resulting in abnormal narrowing and abnormalities in the blood vessels.
This can cause swelling in the area of the clots, most often in Lupus patients it is the legs, lungs, hands or feet. There are various other blood complications when it comes to Lupus, but there are many more problems and complications that can develop with time.
Heart and Circulation Complications
Heart disease can be considered a primary cause of death in Lupus patients. This usually happens as a result of the immune response resulting in chronic inflammation. Heart risks from Lupus often include the following:
- Atherosclerosis: Plaque buildup in Arteries
- Increased Stiffness in Arteries
- Unhealthy Cholesterol and Lipid Levels
- High Blood Pressure (Results of Kidney injury or corticosteroid treatment)
- Heart Failure
- Pericarditis: Inflammation of tissue surrounding the Heart
- Myocarditis: Inflammation of the heart muscle (rare condition)
- Blood Clots
- Abnormalities of Heart Valves
Lung Complications (60 Percent of Lupus Patients)
Lung complications exist in an average of 60 percent of Lupus patients.
- Pleurisy: Inflammation of the Membrane lining the Lung resulting in shortness of breath and coughing
- Pleural Effusion: Fluid buildup
- Lupus Pneumonitis: Symptoms include fever, chest pain, labored breathing and coughing
- Pulmonary Hypertension: High blood pressure as a result of damage to the blood vessels of the lungs
Kidney complications are also very prominent in Lupus patients. The immune system often attacks different parts of the kidney, which may cause temporary or permanent damage to the kidneys, and inflammation almost always accompanies this particular complication. There are various other complications that can develop in Lupus patients over time, and each should be researched and studied with care.