How does Lupus affect the body

Posted on May 10, 2018

We now have a been introduced to lupus’ being systemic and how it targets the diverse organs of the body from the mildest facial rash to the deadly cardiovascular inflammation. Here is a more extensive document focused on the body parts that receive the blows of lupus.   


Lupus has eleven criteria that doctors usually look out for in one’s body. We can use the mnemonic SOAP BRAIN MD to remember them all. S stands for serositis, or the inflammation of membranes or linings of the heart, lungs, or abdomen. O is for oral ulcers or commonly known as cold sores, which can be painless. A is for arthritis or Jaccoud’s, meaning it affects small joints of both sides of the body. This is non-erosive but can be deforming. P is for photosensitivity, or rashes that appear after exposure to the sun. B is blood cells, or diseases of it. R is either renal or Raynaud’s. Renal refers to the protein sediments that is flushed with the urine, which is pathological. Raynaud’s is the experience of being numb and cold. A is for ANA, the hallmark of systemic lupus erythematosus. ANA means antinuclear antibody blood test. In a laboratory, the patient’s blood serum will be viewed under the microscope to confirm the presence of the offensive antibodies that harm its own tissues. A positive ANA result is a check for lupus. The letter I means immunologic, the very definition of lupus. Letter N is for Neurologic disease, as it also affects a person’s mental and intellectual stability and may cause psychosis. M stands for malar rash or butterfly rash. You also see this when one is heavily sunburned. It constitutes a red or purplish butterfly pattern covering the cheeks (we can think of these as the wings) and the nose bridge. Finally, we go to the D, meaning Discoid rash, or coin shaped lesions that are red, inflamed, scaly and crusty lesions that have darker edges and lighter central areas.  

Cognitive impairment in lupus is the most common central nervous system manifestation, but psychosis is the most dominant as this mental disorder affects a person holistically, including the manifold areas of his life. Increased cerebrovascular accidents or risks for stroke is noted due to clogging of the blood vessels. Movement disorders that involve involuntary flailing of the arms, writhing, snake-like movements, muscular jerks and tics, and inability to execute a desired series of movement can impede daily activities. One finds that he can no longer ride a bike or play basketball due to this kind of lupus. Seizures also transpire due to abnormal brain activity. 

Hematologic or blood disorders, such as Felty’s syndrome, cause painful, stiff, and swollen joints. There are also the findings of white blood cells in dangerously low levels that make an individual susceptible to infections. There is also fever, weight loss, fatigue, and skin discoloration. Furthermore, red blood cells may be lacking in this disorder, resulting to anemia and abnormal liver functions. 

Lupus is like a collection of diseases within a disease! It is indeed not a matter to be taken lightly, that is why you have to consult the doctor if some of these symptoms surface, so he can diagnose and help create a treatment plan suitable for your affectations.