More than five millions world populations face uncertain future after been diagnosed with the problem ‘systemic lupus erythematosus’ (SLE) or in short Lupus.
Until now, there are no drug and in-depth study to tackle lupus. It symptoms which resemble other diseases symptoms also causing patient being wrongly diagnosed. So, it is not strange although lupus already have been known in medical world since 1800, but medications to control lupus is still ‘borrowed’ from other diseases.
Lupus is difficult to be traced. Its major symptoms are joint pain, fatigue, skin rashes and fever, similar to most common diseases. Those circumstances cause patients to receive treatments for diseases they did not have. Currently, lupus patients are incurable and may cause fatality.
Until when this scenario is going to continue? Is it because its patient only 5 million in the world including 10,000 in Malaysia hence, the disease is disregarded? Lupus is a disease that attacks individuals aging 15 to 44 years old. Most lupus patients are women. They usually seize lupus at fertility age.
Deputy President of Malaysian SLE Association, Associate Prof Dr Esha Das Gupta, said lupus is lesser known as a global health problem, hence, it is not surprised that it often being isolated from the interest aspect.
However, he said early detection, diagnosis and treatment can delay the disease complications. Hence, increasing the awareness how to spot lupus symptoms can help to save life.
“Though it is, what happened is the reverse because its symptoms are like most common diseases. Doctors also mistakenly diagnosed and the mistake caused patient to suffer for years or more till the right diagnosis is made,” he said.
Lupus has a big impact on the health service system and society caused by this disease complexity and its treatment. Dependent on which organ affected and the seriousness stage of the disease, lupus patient may be forced to take various drugs and treatments. Apart from that, they might be treated by the unsuitable specialist doctor (in reliance with organ affected), undergo many tests, health procedures and going in and out from hospitals repeatedly.
In this case, the mental distress is greater from suffering lupus itself. Hence, almost all lupus associations worldwide fight for awareness and early diagnosis. Let alone in 40 years lately, no any effective and safe new drugs being introduced. Current drug to lupus contains many toxic. The consequence is, it cause other worse complications from lupus.
Current lupus treatment includes recruiting corticosteroid in high dose, anti malaria drugs, immunosuppressive and anti rejection drugs which are earlier developed for cancer patients and organ transplant.
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