Doctors witness surge in 'lupus' cases in north India due to heat waves

 - Sakshi Post

New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) As heat waves continue in north India, doctors are witnessing a surge in cases of 'lupus', an autoimmune disease in which the body's own system is targeted, leading to multiple organ affection and damage, a doctor said on Wednesday.

Heat waves are causing an increase in the prevalence of lupus that affects the skin, joints, and kidneys among other organs. People who have lupus frequently experience flare-ups and increased symptoms as the temperature rises.

Dr Lalit Duggal, Senior Consultant, Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi, said on Wednesday that 6 to 10 cases of lupus have been reported due to the heat waves.

This disease primarily affects women, and that too in their childbearing age between 15 to 45 years.

"Unlike many other rheumatologic disorders, this disease can affect any system of the body, including the skin, joints, lungs, kidneys, gut, liver, heart, and brain. The patient may present just with an unrelenting fever," Duggal said in a statement.

"Therefore, a high index of suspicion and awareness of the complications should direct the physician to diagnose this problem early and initiate treatment," he added.

As per the doctor, several environmental factors can be possible triggers of an underlying genetic background. The triggers may include sun exposure, smoking, oral contraceptive use, postmenopausal hormones, viral infections, etc. The most obvious recognisable lesions are red patches that are highly photosensitive over the cheeks and the nose resembling the marks of wolf bites from where it takes its name -- lupus.

Ulcers in the mouth, nose, and genital area can also be features of lupus.

"More sinister affection of this disease may include kidney disease with loss of proteins in the urine and irreversible damage if not treated," he cautioned.

According to him, treatment depends on the severity of the disease and the type of organ affected. For example, skin involvement can be treated with local application of sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 per cent, and hydroxychloroquine with or without low-dose steroids. Aggressive immunosuppression would be required for more severe disease, including organ environment, such as kidneys, lungs, brain, etc.

With good control of the disease, the patients can lead a normal healthy life, but they have to be under the close supervision of experts, Duggal noted.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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