Head of Rheumatology at the Hospiten University Hospitals in Tenerife, Dr. Jeronimo Balsalobre reports that the hospital group continues its research into new therapies for lupus, an autoimmune disease affecting mostly women and which has a hereditary component.
Lupus is a rare condition whose cause is still unknown. However, at present, early diagnosis improves the prognosis. There is currently no cure for the disease, but outbreaks can be avoided, the symptoms treated and organ damage reduced with changes in lifestyle, above all regarding photoprotection.
The Hospiten specialist explains that "the disease consists of abnormal, persistent hyperactivity of the immune system, which can damage organs, the blood, the skin or the central nervous system".
The most common symptoms are fever, joint pain and swelling, skin rashes, often butterfly-shaped rashes on the nose and face and pale or purple fingers due to Raynaud's phenomenon.
"There is a clear predominance of the disease among young women of childbearing age," says Dr. Balsalobre. Likewise, he insists that the symptoms can appear and disappear at any time, in the form of intermittent flare-ups that will vary among those affected.
Although that information is known, he states that as of yet, there is no specific test for lupus, since it is often confused with other conditions. "It can take months or years before lupus is diagnosed," he says. For that reason, he emphasizes the importance of research into the disease to achieve advances in treatments like those that have considerably reduced morbidity and mortality.
The specialist thus points out that World Lupus Day is held on May 10, a date to raise awareness of the existence of this chronic disease.
At the Hospiten Rheumatology Department, experts recommend avoiding exposure to the sun. Likewise, they advise patients to stop smoking and that women do not become pregnant while the disease is active as it poses a risk to both the fetus and the mother.