One of the great frustrations facing those who suffer from lupus is that no one understands.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease with no clear causes or symptoms. To complicate the problem, the symptoms are typical of varied conditions which delay and misdirect diagnosis. When you have a mysterious medical problem like lupus, it increases curiosity about the disease, its diagnosis, and treatment regimens. We also think there is room for the treatment of lupus with CBD.
What you need to know about the Lupus disease
In an autoimmune, the human immune system does not differentiate between foreign invaders (bacteria, germs, or viruses) and the body’s healthy tissues. In the nature of things, this creates proteins (autoantibodies) that attack and destroy healthy tissue. It’s a vicious circle.
There are more than 100 autoimmune diseases, including Addison’s disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Celiac disease, Lyme disease, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, just to name a few of the better known. Fundamentally, an autoimmune disease is a condition which doctors and researchers do not understand and have no certain treatment.
Lupus can damage any part of the body including skin, joints, and/or organs. And, thinking they are helping the autoantibodies make things worse by producing inflammation, pain, and damage.
What they want you to know at the Resources Center on Lupus includes the following:
- Lupus is not contagious.
- Lupus is not like or related to HIV (Human Immune Deficiency Virus) or AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
- Lupus can range from mild to life-threatening and should always be treated by a doctor.
- 16,000 new cases of lupus are reported each year.
- Most people who develop lupus are 12-44.
- At least 1.5 million Americans have lupus.
- Lupus strikes mostly women of childbearing age.
- Women of color are two to three times more likely to develop lupus than Caucasians.
- People of all races and ethnic groups can develop lupus.
Despite the prevalence and costs of pain, suffering, and quality of life, there has not been enough serious large-scale research.
What you need to know about the causes of Lupus disease
What causes lupus? The short answer is that no one knows. But, Johns Hopkins says it seems to appear in people genetically predisposed to lupus.
- MHC class II and III represent two families of genes that shape your immune response by coding for proteins that function in response to invaders (antigens).
- Lupus involves defects of the genes for proteins C4 and C2.
- Opsonins are molecules that make it easier for cells in your immune response to initiating certain steps, specifically two proteins called mannose-binding protein and C-reactive protein.
- Genes for cytokines (viz., tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-10 (IL-10)) function as signaling molecules in your immune system and have also been implicated in the association with lupus.
- Genes that code for molecules called Fcγ-receptors function to “catch” antibodies carrying antigens also have been linked to lupus nephritis (lupus affecting the kidneys).
But, what you can take away from this is the difficulty of tracing the route causes take. What researchers have come to believe is that the genetic predisposition is triggered by environmental factors.
According to Mayo Clinic, these triggers might include but are not limited to:
- Sunlight may produce the lupus skin lesions or trigger an internal response in susceptible people.
- Infectious diseases like mononucleosis, Epstein-Barre, or herpes zoster, may initiate lupus or cause a relapse in some people.
- Medications, including certain types of blood pressure medications, anti-seizure medications, and antibiotics have triggered incidents of lupus which usually disappears with cessation of the medication.
And, it’s strange how something as innocuous as sunlight can cause such suffering.
What you need to know about the symptoms of lupus
- Fatigue: 90% of the lupus patients complain of fatigue that may result from fighting the condition, related stress, disturbed sleep, and low levels of exercise.
- Malar Rash: Half the patients reveal a pronounced, painful, itchy, red rash across the cheeks and bridge of the nose to form a butterfly. Rashes may also appear on other parts of the body exposed to the sun.
- Swelling: 90% of patients will develop arthritic swelling, aching, and stiffness in the hand, finger, and wrist joints.
- Fever: Most lupus patients experience unexplained fevers.
What you need to know about therapy
You may notice that the symptoms are often signs of other conditions from flu to complications of aging. Even medical professionals are likely to treat these symptoms—observed individually—with over-the-counter anti-inflammation products.
Pharmaceuticals are prescribed to address symptoms not causes and will typically increase the strength of anti-inflammatories. But, they may also try:
- Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation with the risk of many side-effects.
- Immunosuppressive drugs to modulate your immune system at the risk of incurring other diseases.
- Anticoagulants with the risk attached to all blood-thinners.
There are also positive experiences from yoga, moderate physical exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness counseling, and support groups.
What you want to know about CBD and lupus
A high-quality grade of CBD oil concentrates all the power of cannabis CBD in treatment for stress, depression, and inflammation. It has none of the psychoactive effects of THC. And, it can be used discretely throughout the day to manage symptoms.
CBD runs interference in your central nervous system and the human endocannabinoid system. To keep it simple, it pushes things along or out of the way, so those systems can function with balance. It makes a major contribution to reducing inflammation, improving rest, redeploying hormones, and reducing the absorption of anandamide, the “bliss” molecule.
Our CBD oils, lotions, capsules, and edibles offer relief from fatigue, pain, and more when used prudently as part of a holistic approach to help manage lupus symptoms