May 10 is World Lupus Day, and in light of this we at Bel Marra Health want to educate our readers on not only lupus, but other conditions like staph infection, pleuritis, osteoporosis, and iron deficiency, which can be affected by lupus. Here are Bel Marra Health’s top articles regarding lupus and the associated conditions to keep you informed on the World Lupus Day.
Lupus risk is associated with chronic exposure to staph (staphylococcus aureus) bacteria. A study from the Mayo Clinic revealed that chronic exposure to staph – even in small amounts – increases the risk of lupus.
Staph is commonly found in the nose or on the skin, and can lead to infections. The researchers exposed mice to low doses of a protein found in staph and found that the mice developed a lupus-like illness with kidney disease and autoantibodies commonly found in lupus patients.
Coauthor Vaidehi Chowdhary said, “We think this protein could be an important clue to what may cause or exacerbate lupus in certain genetically predisposed patients. Our hope is to confirm these findings in lupus patients and hopefully prevent flares.”
Researchers also question whether treating patients for staph could prevent lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the joints. Lupus is difficult to diagnose, because it can mimic many other disorders, as well as it can affect all parts of the body. It is difficult to determine the cause of lupus, just like in many other autoimmune diseases, but the study results shed light onto at least one possible cause.
In the mice models, the animals were given a staph protein, which is activated by certain white blood cells to set off an inflammatory response that mirrors lupus. In studies conducted on humans, the results confirmed that chronic exposure to staph has contributed to a diagnosis of lupus. Continue reading…
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that often impacts the lungs, and research shows pulmonary complications with this disease can lead to pleuritis, pneumonitis, and pulmonary hypertension.
When a person has a lung infection, it usually affects their airway and lung tissue, but with lupus it seems that it can impact all compartments of the lungs and cause pleuritis, which is inflammation of the linings around the lung, as well as pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure that occurs in the arteries in the lungs). Those with lupus and lung problems can also get pneumonitis, inflammation of the walls of the alveoli in the lungs normally caused by a virus.
Lupus and lung involvement are not automatic. In other words, just because you have lupus does not mean that you will have lung problems. Studies suggest that about 50 percent of those with lupus will eventually suffer from some sort of lung disease. Medical researchers think it is important that patients fully understand the complications that could arise so they can be addressed at the first signs – before symptoms get too out of control.
So just how does lupus affect the lungs? Chest pain, cough, and shortness of breath are the most common symptoms associated with lupus and lung problems. However, lupus lung pain can be uncomfortable and severe. It could be a sign of a more serious lung issue, such as pleuritis or pneumonitis. Continue reading…
Lupus – systemic lupus erythematosus – increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone loss. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that is more common among women. Osteoporosis has commonly been seen in lupus patients with risk factors including prolonged use of glucocorticoids, cyclophosphamide, and possibly gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists. Specifically in premenopausal women with lupus, inflammation and medications to treat lupus can contribute to bone loss, which increases the risk of bone fractures.
Research has found that bone loss prevention in lupus patients should examine many areas, including calcium and vitamin D intake, age-appropriate supplementation, and homocysteine. Patients experiencing bone loss should be monitored with bone mineral density scans to determine effectiveness of treatment. Continue reading…
Lupus patients face anemia risk from inflammation, iron deficiency, and renal insufficiency. Anemia is a common occurrence in lupus patients, affecting nearly 50 percent of them. There are many reasons why lupus patients are at a greater risk for anemia, including inflammation, renal insufficiency, blood loss, dietary insufficiency, medications, and infection, just to name a few.
Renal insufficiency: Lupus patients might experience anemia due to renal insufficiency as there is a deficiency in the production of erythropoietin (a hormone that increases the rate of red blood cell production) in the kidneys.
Iron deficiency: Chronic blood loss from the gastrointestinal tract, usually due to medications or through excessive menstrual bleeding. Iron deficiency anemia is quite common among lupus patients and the general population, especially young teenage girls and women.
Red cell aplasia: This is a rare form of anemia usually caused by antibodies directed against either erythropoietin or bone marrow erythroblasts. It typically responds well to steroid treatments. Continue reading…
Lupus (SLE) patients suffer from mood disorders, anxiety, and depression. Although lupus is characterized by many physical symptoms, it can affect mental health as well. Lupus can be a complicating illness, which is caused by an overactive immune system. With medication, symptoms can be managed, but often the side effects of medications can contribute to other health consequences, including those related to mental health.
Aside from medication complications, lupus can have direct effects on mental health, including cognitive dysfunction, depression and anxiety, and even personality changes. A patient with lupus may become forgetful, “fuzzy-headed,” angry, irritable, and even experience depression and anxiety symptoms in relation to medications or as stand-alone conditions. Continue reading…