Answer To The Question: Is Lupus Contagious?
Lupus is a very complex disease which affects just about every part of the body, so many people are curious to know: Is lupus contagious? The good news is, it is not. The bad news is that lupus is a chronic disease and it moves from one system in the body to another causing a wide variety of symptoms.
What is lupus?
Lupus is what is known as an autoimmune disease. This means, as with AIDS, you can live with lupus for many, many years. There is no cure for lupus but there are treatments available. People often go in and out of remission frequently so there is always hope that a particular attack of lupus can be defeated.
It is also very hard to diagnose lupus because it does affect more than one body system. It is often misdiagnosed. While the answer to the question, “is lupus contagious?” is no, it can be triggered by a plethora of human conditions. It can begin at puberty, after the birth of a child or even during menopause.
Symptoms of lupus
The first symptoms can pop up after a long treatment for another disease or after fighting off a viral infection. Too much sunlight can also trigger lupus. Women are more apt to have lupus than men. Symptoms which are predominant include intense fatigue, arthritis-like joint pains, and skin rashes, particularly on the face.
Lupus got its name from these facial rashes. The scientific name for a wolf is canine lupus. The face rash, which is the first symptom of lupus for many people, was said to look like a wolf bite. Hence, the name lupus and its association with wolves.
The disease progresses to more serious problems, which can involve the heart and lungs, kidney disease, gastrointestinal diseases, vasculitis, problems with the central nervous system, along with eye conditions, anemia, and loss of hair. Some people have only a few minor symptoms, while for others lupus is a severe and life-threatening disease that makes daily living very challenging.
Is lupus contagious?
Lupus causes immune system antibodies to attack the body’s own cells and tissue. Instead, of being able to fight viruses and bacteria with antibodies, the body creates autoantibodies which cause cell damage and joint swelling. The attacking antigens (viral and bacterial) are then left to run their course, further weakening the immune system.
Lupus is not contagious. Although it affects the immune system, it cannot be passed on to another person through sex or any other person-to-person contact. While AIDS affects the immune system by making it under-produce, lupus does just the opposite, making it over-produce.
Four types of lupus
There are four types of lupus which you could develop--these include systemic, discoid, drug-induced and neonatal. Systemic is the most severe and the most active. This is the form that causes periodic flares affecting the nervous system, muscle tissue, joints, lungs, kidneys, heart, blood and skin.
Discoid lupus presents itself with rashes, especially on the face. You are also apt to have lumps and/or sores in your mouth or nose. Drug-induced lupus is usually caused by either of two drugs--hydralazine or procainamide. Neonatal lupus is very rare--it affects babies born from mothers who have lupus. There can be skin conditions, liver problems or heart defects.
Most people who have lupus can lead a full life as long as they receive a correct diagnosis and treatment. Because of the number of bodily systems which can be involved, you might need to see several specialists as well as your regular doctor. See your doctor right away if you have any lupus symptoms. Most cases go into remission with proper treatment.