Lupus patients have been advised to visit rheumatologists early to gain valuable time for treatment.
The ailment is said to belong to a group called connective tissue or autoimmune diseases. When it strikes, the body is at war with itself. The protective white blood cells, which normally defend the body from germs, turn their weapons on the body.
Speaking at World Lupus Day, organised by Labalaba Foundation, at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Femi Adelowo, a Professor of Medicine and Consultant Rheumatologist at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), said the cause of lupus is unknown, though there are many hypotheses.
He said: “One thing that is certain is that the disease results from a malfunction of the protective system. Some persons and families appear prone to these conditions.”
Co-founder of the foundation, Dr. Ayesha Akinkugbe, said lupus is a chronic, complex autoimmune disease that affects millions worldwide. More than 90 percent of people with lupus are women, diagnosed between the ages of 15 to 44.
She said women of African descent are especially at risk. In lupus, the immune system, which is designed to protect against infection, creates antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues and organs, the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs blood, skin, and joints.