Lupus is an auto immune disease in which the body’s immune system starts attacking its own healthy cells leading to multiple health complications
At an awareness session, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon encourages people to get themselves screened for the disease
Pain in the joints accompanied by an unexplained fever, photosensitivity or a butterfly-shaped rash on the face! These symptoms may point to the occurrence of an auto-immune disorder called LUPUS, but often they are confused for other ailments and go undiagnosed.
Doctors at the Department of Rheumatology of Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon closely observed a number of rheumatoid patients for several months to arrive at the conclusion that misdiagnosis remains a major problem in the treatment of Lupus disease.
What happens when the human body’s carefully structured immune system suffers a programme malfunction and turns against its own cells? Lupus is one such disease in which this happens, leading to a series of complications including arthritis, stomach disorders, photo sensitivity, and even kidney diseases.
Since its symptoms overlap with several other ailments, most of the time medical practitioners fail to recognize the right cause. Often, patients are treated for secondary causes for months and continue to experience problems and health issues.
With an aim to raise awareness about the disorder, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon today organized an awareness session about Lupus, bringing together several patients in whom it went undetected for a long time. The patients came together with doctors to share their experience of living with the disease and the difficulty in getting it diagnosed.
“For several months, we have closely studied a number of patients visiting our facility with auto-immune ailments. We found a pattern of lack of awareness, confusion and wrong treatments being given to many who had Lupus. We could see a number of patients who were misdiagnosed and were treated for the secondary causes. They all had common issues – unexplained fever, ache in the joints, photosensitivity, butterfly rash in the face,” says Dr Indrajit Agrawal, HOD, Department of Rhuematology, Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon.
The Awareness Drive was prompted by this realization. Paras Hospitals and the Department of Rheumatology has been aggressively creating awareness by distributing brochures, awareness posters and organizing health talks about the subject. The main aim is to create self awareness and medical connect.
“I consider my efforts successful, when a patient comes into my OPD after reading my awareness material and tells me that she relates to the symptoms mentioned and she suspects that she suffers from the same. As a medical professional I am able to instill the feeling of prevention in the eyes of many. Awareness about this unexplained disorder is a must to tackle the same. Hence, if any 25-30 year old woman feels the same symptoms along with photosensitivity & skin rashes she should immediately suspect Lupus just like blood in the sputum is taken as TB,” says Dr Agrawal.
LUPUS Systematic Erythematosus is a chronic disease that can affect multiple organs – kidneys, lungs, heart, brain, etc. If diagnosed and treated on time, its effects can be controlled and managed; if not it can even lead to major complications. However, a majority of patients either resort to self medication or they are treated for secondary manifestations of the disease. In fact, a number of cases have been misdiagnosed for even TB, and cancer with disastrous consequences.
There are different kinds of Lupus that have been identified – some whose impact is limited to the skin, others whose impact spreads to different organs of the body. A number of incidences of arthritis in people are also due to Lupus which has not been diagnosed. More women than men are found to have Lupus which can have devastating effects on the functioning of the body.
Like in the case of other autoimmune diseases, it is still not clear what exactly causes lupus. But a combination of genetic factors accompanied by an environmental trigger is believed to be the causative factors. The environmental factors that are believed to trigger the disease include UV radiation, high levels of stress, smoke and certain antibiotics.