If you’re like me, you’re probably been asked “So…just what is lupus?” more times than you care to remember. Or, you may have some disturbing symptoms and are trying to figure out if they fit the lupus profile.
For many patients the first time they have heard mention of lupus was from their doctor as they sought to diagnose their mysterious symptoms. This is because unfortunately, Lupus doesn’t receive as much exposure as it should, despite being more common than many other chronic and autoimmune diseases.
One of the reasons is that it can be hard determine if your symptoms are the result of this specific condition. Lupus is known to mimic the symptoms of many other illnesses, so receiving a diagnosis can require many steps, including verifying that you have at least three of the symptoms mentioned here as well as blood work and a physical exam.
So, what is Lupus disease? Well, Lupus is classified as an autoimmune disease. This means that your body’s immune system has mistakenly identified your healthy organs and tissue as foreign invaders (similar to bacteria and viruses). This mis-identification leads your immune system to create auto-antibodies (killer cells), which attack your organs, joints and tissue and cause chronic inflammation.
Keep reading to learn why your immune system is more accurate than you or your doctor may realize.
The Role of Inflammation in Lupus
Inflammation is actually a necessary part of healing. For a short, but concentrated amount of time, your body works to remove harmful bacteria or destroy mutated tissue. However, if the inflammation is ongoing, it ends up causing serious harm to the body as a whole. Ongoing attacks from the immune system weaken the body and can cause a myriad of issues, including organ failure. The symptoms of Lupus can involve any organ, tissue or body system and vary based on the individual. It’s not strange at all to see two people who are very similar experience lupus in very different ways.
The Traditional Medical Stance vs. Holistic Medicine
While I have a lot of respect for modern medicine and the amazing life-saving advances that it offers, traditional medicine is built upon the desire to suppress symptoms- not find and rectify the root cause of illness. in that way, Western medicine differs from most traditional healing practices, as well as some modern countries who still appreciate the benefits of an integrated, holistic approach.
The official stance of the medical community is that it is not known what causes Lupus. Also, that there is no cure. However, many holistic practitioners, medical researchers and alternatives health providers are in agreement as to the cause of not only lupus, but many autoimmune and chronic diseases.
So What is Lupus Disease?
There are many factors and causes of Lupus, but the basic principle is that your body is not actually confused. Your immune system is not mistakenly attacking healthy tissue. YOUR TISSUE IS UNHEALTHY.
Now this is a radical departure from the mainstream stance, but it falls in line with the body’s structure and how it works. Also, the holistic theory behind autoimmune disease is validated by the tried and true health and wellness principles of centuries that span many cultures and healing traditions around the world.
Your body is an amazing creation. However, if not properly fed, nurtured and cleansed, it will eventually break down and succumb to illness.
Most of us think we are pretty healthy, but often, the opposite is true. There are so many things that we put into and on our bodies that compromise our ability to stay healthy. On top of that, there are a huge number of environmental factors that are making society as a whole less healthy overall.
Understanding Autoimmune Disease
To really delve into the cause of Lupus, it takes more than one page. Read this page for an extensive guide to understanding autoimmune diseases and here for a list of many common Lupus causes.
Also, if you think you may have Lupus, check your symptoms against this list of common symptoms as classified by the Lupus Foundation of America.
This is a good list, but it’s important to point out that many people experience other symptoms or receive negative blood tests and are still later diagnosed with Lupus.
Knowledge is power. Once you understand what Lupus is, you are better equipped to deal with the symptoms and develop a treatment plan that can greatly improve or restore your health completely.