Lupus: 6 Important Facts You Need to Know

Lupus has no cure, and it is a chronic inflammatory disease you have when your tissues and organs are attacked by your body’s immune system. Some people are born with a greater possibility of developing lupus than the others. And the inflammations caused by lupus can affect several organs or systems in your body, such as liver, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, blood cells, brains, and skin.

Symptoms of lupus

Sometimes it is difficult to diagnose if someone is having lupus or not. This is because lupus exhibits symptoms that are very similar to other diseases, as highlighted below:

  • Having chest pain
  • Experiencing fever and fatigue
  • Having dry eyes
  • Experiencing shortness of breath
  • Incessant joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Having a memory loss, headaches, and constantly feeling confused
  • Having skin lesions that seem to worsen when exposed to the sun
  • Fingers and toes turning white or blue when exposed to stress or cold
  • Having butterfly-shaped rash on your face that spreads from the cheeks to your nose’s bridge

Causes of lupus

On most occasions, the cause of lupus is unknown, but some people who inherited lupus gene may develop it when there are sudden changes in their environments. Generally, lupus may emerge when exposed to the following conditions:

  • Infections: It is possible for certain infections to bring up lupus.
  • Medications: Some blood pressure, antibiotics, and anti-seizure medications can trigger lupus.
  • Exposure to sunlight: Lupus skin lesions may surface due to the excessive exposure to the sun. Or the lesions may appear in some internal parts of your body.

              Some risk factors

The following factors may increase your risks of developing lupus:

  • Age: Despite affecting people of all ages, lupus is commonly diagnosed between the age of 15 and 40 years old.
  • Race: African-Americans, Asian, and Hispanics are more susceptible to lupus than people from other races
  • Gender (Sex): Lupus is more common in women.

                     Complications arising from lupus

Lupus may lead to any of these health complications:

  • Causing kidney failure and problems
  • Leading to headaches, behavioral changes, dizziness, strokes, and hallucinations when lupus affects one’s brain and nervous system
  • Increasing bleeding problem and risk of anemia
  • Making breathing difficult owing to an inflammation of the chest cavity lining (pleurisy), and causing people to be susceptible to pneumonia
  • Increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, because of the inflammation of the heart muscle
  • Increasing the risk of cancer
  • Leading to pregnancy complications
  • Increasing the vulnerability of people to other infections
  • Causing the death of the bone tissue

Testing and diagnosing lupus

It may be misleading to only consider the physical symptoms of lupus because other diseases have similar signs. However, there are three categories of tests that can be carried out on people to detect if they have lupus or not:

  • Laboratory tests: These include:
  • Complete blood count
  • Erythrocytes sedimentation rate
  • Urinalysis
  • Antinuclear antibody (ANA) test
  • Kidney and liver assessment
  • Imaging tests: These include:
  • Echocardiogram
  • Chest x-ray
  • Biopsy: This test provides better information on how far lupus has been affecting a patient’s kidney. A sample of the person’s kidney tissue is required to complete this test.

               Treatments for lupus

Your lupus will be treated based on your symptoms. Your doctor will determine which medications are the most appropriate for you. Sometimes as your health improves, the medications may have to be changed to other ones. Make sure you are constantly discussing the progress of your recovery with your doctor. In most cases, lupus can be treated with any of these medications based on the patient’s symptoms:

  • Antimalarial drugs
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Corticosteroids

Kidney Stones: Pay Serious Attention to these Warning Signs

 According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in ten people experiences kidney stone problem at a certain time in their lives. And, each year, more than 500,000 Americans are treated for kidney stones. Paying deliberation attention to these warning signs or symptoms may prevent you from being sent to the operation room.

             Types and causes of kidney stones

Kidney stones are hard objects that are made from some chemicals in the urine. Highlighted below are some types of kidney stones and their corresponding causes:

  • Uric acid: Purines are natural chemical compounds found in high concentrations in shellfish and some organ meats. It is believed that high intakes of purines produce a high amount of monosodium urate, which may form kidney stones under the right conditions.
  • Calcium oxalate: This is the most prevalent kind of kidney stone, and it is caused by the combination of calcium and oxalate in the urine. When there is no adequate fluid in your body or calcium, it may lead to the formation of calcium oxalate.
  • Struvite: This kind of kidney stone is not very common, and it can be caused by an infection in the upper urinary tract.
  • Cystine: These are the rarest types of kidney stones, and they tend to be hereditary.

Warning signs (symptoms) of kidney stones

These are the warning signs you must pay serious attention to:

  • Having some blood in your urine
  • Chills and fever
  • Experiencing severe pain on either side of your lower back
  • Having urine that smells horribly or appearing cloudy
  • Feeling like vomiting or nauseated
  • Unending vague pain or stomach ache that refuses to stop

How kidney stones are diagnosed?

When you begin to experience any of the symptoms described above, the most sensible thing to do is to see your doctor. Your doctor will then investigate your medical history and perform some physical examinations on you. However, you will need some imaging tests to determine the exact size and shape of the kidney stone.

Examples of imaging tests

  • Using high-resolution CT Scan, from the kidney down to your bladder
  • Using an x-ray called “KUB X-ray” which stands for kidney-ureter-bladder x-ray. This will help your doctor to determine the size and shape of the stone and recommend the most appropriate treatment
  • Or using IVP (intravenous pyelogram), which is a kind of x-ray of the urinary system

                     Treating kidney stones

Kidney stones affect both kids and adults, and they are diagnosed and treated almost the same ways. Your doctor may recommend any of the treatments below for your kidney stones:

  • By drinking a lot of water
  • Taking medications that would make your urine to be less acidic
  • Too big kidney stones are removed by surgery using any of the methods below:
  • Shock-wave lithotripsy—this is a non-invasive procedure that utilizes high-energy sound waves to break the stones into smaller pieces that can easily be eliminated through urination.
  • Ureteroscopy—An endoscope will be inserted through your ureter to take out the stone or demolish it.
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy/nephrolithotripsy—this procedure is used to remove a very large kidney stone.

                    What you can do to prevent kidney stones?

You can safeguard yourself and your child from kidney stones by following these simple steps:

  • Drink a lot of water, at least more than 10 glasses a day
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Reduce the amount of salt in your food
  • Eat balanced diets that will provide your body with the necessary nutrients
  • Watch your weight because obesity may increase the chance of having kidney stones


How Women Can Prevent Hair Loss

Losing one’s hair, as a woman, is not fun or something desirable at all. Up till today, hair loss has been mostly linked to aging—that is, as one gets older, it is indispensable not to lose some strands of one’s hair. However, there are other factors responsible for hair loss against which every affected woman can take conscious steps to prevent.

Causes of hair loss

It is very helpful for you to be aware of the primary causes of hair loss so that you can do everything in your power to fight it. You may lose your hair due to:

  • Genetic factor: It may be in your genes that you will surely lose some of your hair. This condition is referred to as androgenetic alopecia. You can confirm this by merely looking at either of your parents’ hair, noticing any gradual falling off of their hair.
  • Lifestyle choice: Your lifestyle choice may also result in you losing some strands of your hair. If you put pressure on your hair with hairstyles such as braids that are tight or cornrows, they may pull off your hair one at a time. This condition is referred to as traction alopecia. Similarly, the kinds of dyes, brushes, towels or chemicals you use to treat your hair before and after the shower may lead to gradual hair loss.
  • Medical conditions: You may lose some of your hair if you are suffering from any of the following medical conditions: Stress, thyroid disorders, menopause, ingesting too much of Vitamin A, psoriasis, anemia, pregnancy, weight loss, or seborrheic dermatitis.

How you can prevent hair loss

  • Embracing a lifestyle that will not put any pressure on your hair or tightly pulling them out
  • Using a topical medication to treat hair loss. Minoxidil, also known as Rogaine, is the only FDA-approved medication for treating hair loss for women. It is used once a day, and it works by elongating the growth phase of your hair. This medication has been adjudged to be successful by many women who have patiently used it.
  • An iron supplement may be used if your doctor found out that you have low levels of ferritin (a protein that acts as the reservoir for body iron).
  • Hair transplantation may be used, which involves taking tiny hair follicles from one area of your scalp and transplanting them into the affected areas. This may be a permanent solution to your hair loss.

Your dermatologist should be able to identify the main cause of your hair loss and proffer useful solutions. Sometimes, you may be losing your hair because of some other health issues or conditions you are yet to diagnose. This is why it is advisable that you work with your doctor as early as possible.