The Road to Success is not straight: There is a curve called failure, a loop called confusion, speed bumps called friends, caution lights called family, and you will have flats called jobs. But, if you have a spare called determination, an engine called perseverance, insurance called faith, and a driver called God, you will make it to a place called success!

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LUPUS

It was a day where I have this feeling of urgency to drop by at our office even if I was still on leave. I have been away for more than 10 days due to my Typhoid Fever and I felt I have the responsibility to update myself with the information that I've missed during my confinement Especially now that I have been given extra task to perform. Nothing was that different then except for the warm welcome by my friends. I thought it was just me who made it to the headlines at the workplace but to my shock, Mamacon, as we call our colleague named Connie brought a not so good news to me.  We saw each other at the locker room, exchanged friendly kisses, and greeted one another. She spoiled the news that Judy, one of our colleagues was currently mourning at the demise of her mother. It really shocked me as the news sent shivers. I just can't bear the thought of a passing of a mother. It is something that I cannot truly handle should it happen to me.

We went to the chapel in which her mother's remains are located. The place by the way is so far, far away that we literally begged for something to drink at the time we have arrived. We extended our condolences tp Judy and had some chit chat with her. We found out that her mother's death was caused by a disease called Lupus.

WHAT IS LUPUS? 


 Lupus is a disease that involves the immune system Normally, a person's immune system works by producing immunity cells and antibodies, special substances that fight germs and infections.

But when a person has lupus, the immune system goes into overdrive and can't tell the difference between some of the body's normal, healthy cells and germs that can cause infection. So the immune system responds by making autoantibodies that attack the body's normal cells.





The three types of lupus are:

1. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Also called SLE, this is the type of lupus that most people mean when they talk about the disease. It was given its name by a 19th century French doctor who thought that the facial rash of some people with lupus looked like the bite or scratch of a wolf ("lupus" is Latin for wolf and "erythematosus" is Latin for red).

SLE is the most serious form of lupus. SLE can affect the skin, joints, and tendons. It may also affect organs like the brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys.

2. Cutaneous (or skin) Lupus

This type of lupus is a skin disease that causes a rash on the face, neck, scalp, and ears. There are two types of cutaneous lupus: discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), which can cause scarring; and subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE), which doesn't cause scars. Discoid lupus is a much more rare form of lupus than SLE, although about 10% of people with discoid lupus will develop a mild form of SLE. It doesn't affect other body organs the way that SLE can.


3. Drug-Induced Lupus

This type of lupus is caused by a reaction to certain kinds of medicines. For example, some types of antiseizure medicines and acne medicines can cause this kind of lupus in teens. Drug-induced lupus is similar to SLE in the ways it affects the body, but once a person stops taking the medicine, the symptoms usually go away.
  
WHAT CAUSES LUPUS?

No one really knows what causes lupus. Researchers think that some people may be more likely to get it due to things that are out of their control, like:

    * gender: Many more women get lupus than men; for every 1 man with lupus, there are 10 women who have it.
    * estrogen: This female hormone may be a factor in lupus — almost all women who get lupus are of childbearing age.
    * race/ethnicity: Lupus occurs more often in African-American, Asian-American, Latin-American, and Native-American women than in non-Hispanic Caucasian women.
    * family history/genetics: About 10% of people with lupus have a family member with lupus.
    * major stress or infection: If people have the genetic tendency to get lupus, extreme stress or an infection may trigger the disease — but the blueprint for lupus has to already be there. One thing researchers know about lupus is that it is not contagious. You can't catch any of the three types of lupus from another person. And although lupus involves the immune system, it is not the same as other diseases that involve the immune system, like AIDS.

Symptoms of Lupus and How It Is Diagnosed


Lupus can be hard to diagnose because its symptoms can vary from one person to the next. The symptoms can also make lupus look like certain other diseases. They may have muscle aches, loss of appetite, swollen glands, and hair loss. Sometimes they have abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

The doctor may perform certain blood tests when lupus is suspected and will probably send the person to a rheumatologist (pronounced: roo-muh-tol-uh-jist). Rheumatologists are doctors who have special training in diagnosing and treating autoimmune diseases like lupus.

Because signs and symptoms of SLE can be so varied, a rheumatologist will look for 11 specific signs:

   1. malar rash: A malar rash appears across the nose and cheeks in the shape of a butterfly.
   2. discoid rash: This rash features round, red, scaly patches that can appear on the face, arms, scalp, or ears.
   3. photosensitivity: This means sensitivity to ultraviolet rays, like the ones that come from the sun or from fluorescent lights. Most people with SLE are photosensitive and find that the sun worsens their lupus.
   4. ulcers in the nose or mouth: These usually don't hurt and many people with SLE don't even know they are there.
   5. arthritis: This makes joints hurt, especially in hands and feet. Unlike the kind of arthritis that older people sometimes get, this arthritis doesn't damage the bones. Most people with SLE have some degree of arthritis.
   6. serositis: This is the collection of fluid near the linings covering the heart, lungs, or abdomen.
   7. kidney problems: These can be mild or severe. Most people with SLE will have kidney problems, but only about half of them will have permanent kidney damage.
   8. neurologic problems: This refers to problems with the brain and nervous system, like seizures.
   9. blood problems: SLE can cause a lower than normal number of red blood cells (anemia), white blood cells, or platelets.
  10. immune system problems: Blood tests may show that the immune system isn't functioning properly.
  11. positive ANA test: This is a blood test that shows a certain type of antibody. About 95% of people with SLE have a positive ANA test.

Someone with four or more of these signs or symptoms is likely to have SLE. Most patients don't develop all 11 of them.

TREATING LUPUS

The type of treatment someone gets often depends on how severe the lupus is and which body systems are affected. Almost all people with SLE take some kind of medicine to help control their lupus. Patients whose joints hurt often take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) to help with the pain.

Others take antimalarial drugs (medicines first developed to prevent and treat malaria, but that have also been found to help treat lupus). Antimalarial drugs often help treat skin rashes and joint pain.

Some rheumatologists prescribe anti-inflammatory steroids, medicines that help fight the fatigue and fever that can affect people with SLE. People with lupus that affects important body organs may be given other immunosuppressive drugs. These drugs help stop the immune system from producing the autoantibodies that destroy healthy cells. These drugs are very strong, though, and can have side effects. So they are used only when it's really necessary.

Judy's mom was not able to triumph over Lupus. Who by the way says that treatments are guaranteed for  recovery? One thing is for sure though, her mother is now in a place where antibodies are no longer needed. Where medicines are no longer necessary. Even health is no longer a matter of the subject. She is now happy; free of all pain and suffering.


*facts obtained from http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/bones/lupus.html

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