Lupus Cases in North India are on the Rise Due to Extreme Heat Waves


As the sun shines and the temperature rises, heat waves continue to affect northern India. Doctors are seeing a drastic increase in cases of “lupus,” an autoimmune disease that affects the body’s own system and causes damage to multiple organs.

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Does hot weather affect lupus?

Heat waves are causing an increase in the prevalence of lupus, which affects the skin, joints and kidneys, among other organs. People who have lupus frequently experience asthma attacks and an increase in symptoms as their temperature rises (1 Reliable source
With climate change, more potential complications arise for people with lupus

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).

Dr Lalit Duggal, Senior Consultant, Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi, said 6 to 10 cases of lupus have been reported due to heat waves. This disease mainly affects women, and also of childbearing age, between 15 and 45 years.

“Unlike many other rheumatologic disorders, This disease can affect any system in the body., including the skin, joints, lungs, kidneys, intestine, liver, heart and brain. The patient may simply present with an unrelenting fever,” Duggal said in a statement. “Therefore, a high index of suspicion and knowledge of complications should guide the doctor to diagnose this problem early and initiate treatment,” he added.

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Common Lupus Triggers

According to the doctor, various environmental factors can be possible triggers for an underlying genetic background. Triggers may include sun exposure, smoking, oral contraceptive use, postmenopausal hormones, viral infections, etc.2 Reliable source
Common Lupus Triggers

  Omega-rich vegetarian foods, the body will get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids

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). The most obvious recognizable lesions are highly photosensitive red spots on the cheeks and nose, resembling wolf bite marks, from which it takes its name: lupus. Ulcers in the mouth, nose, and genital area can also be characteristic of lupus. “The most sinister conditions of this disease can include kidney disease with loss of protein in the urine and irreversible damage if left untreated,” he warned.

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Can lupus be treated?

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 percent and hydroxychloroquine with or without low-dose steroids. Aggressive immunosuppression would be required for more severe diseaseincluding the environment of organs, such as kidneys, lungs, brain, etc. With good disease control, patients can lead normal, healthy lives, but they must be under close supervision of experts, Duggal said.

References:

  1. With climate change, more potential complications arise for people with lupus – (https://ccpulse.org/2023/03/09/with-climate-change-comes-more-potential-complications-for-people-with-lupus/)
  2. Common Lupus Triggers – (https://www.lupus.org/resources/common-triggers-for-lupus)

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