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COVID-19 and Lupus

Published on Dec 07, 2021 and last reviewed on May 06, 2022   -  5 min read


Systemic lupus erythematosus is an immune disorder. Read this article to know more about the relation between COVID-19 and lupus.

COVID-19 and Lupus

What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19, or the coronavirus, was discovered as a new virus in December 2019. It was first found at an animal market in Wuhan, China. It has spread around the world, traveling from the affected country to other places in the world. The effect in Italy and the United States Of America was vast. It has affected more than a million people across the globe.

The classic symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, myalgia, sore throat, etc. Right now, several vaccines against COVID-19 have been approved and are used.

What Is Lupus?

Lupus, or the systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect multiple organs of unknown etiology. In this disease, a person's immune system affects a person's tissues and organs. The most affected body parts of this disease are joints, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs.

The most significant sign of lupus is a butterfly rash that appears on the face, prominently in the cheek regions of the affected individuals. SLE can be genetic, but infections can also trigger it. This is more common in women than in men. The range of symptoms in SLE ranges from mild, moderate, and severe. The most commonly presented symptoms are fatigue, fever, joint pain, stiffness, swelling, photosensitivity mediated skin rash, Raynaud's phenomenon, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, confusion, and memory loss. It is more important to note that, despite having many common symptoms, people with SLE tend to present unique symptoms. Not all patients need to have the same manifestations of the disease.

What Are the variants of Lupus?

They are:

What Are the Risk Factors Associated With COVID-19?

Though proper pathophysiology has not been appropriately explained, it is said that the presence of any respiratory condition, especially when it is chronic, the risk of getting infected with COVID-19 is high. It does not mean that comorbid respiratory conditions cause COVID-19. It means that when a person with a comorbid respiratory condition like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) gets in contact with the virus, the risk of getting the severe form of the disease is higher. As said above, coronavirus also has respiratory manifestations like shortness of breath. Also, it is an autoimmune disease where our immune system attacks the healthy tissues of the body. These factors make lupus a risk factor for COVID-19, but it's unclear whether lupus increases COVID-19 more than the general population. More data is needed to confirm this.

What Are the Prescribed Medications?

Hydroxychloroquine was considered a medicine that can treat COVID-19. It is well known that Hydroxychloroquine is one of the regular medications used by lupus patients. Since it became viral that Hydroxychloroquine could be used in COVID-19, people worldwide started to buy and use it. This affected the lupus patients that Hydroxychloroquine was not readily available for them. If medicines are not taken regularly in lupus, it might lead to a flare-up of symptoms; it might also be the risk of getting in contact with the virus and developing the disease. Therefore, to prevent flare-up symptoms as well as to prevent from COVID-19, lupus patients have to continue their prescribed drugs as advised by rheumatologists. Also, they should not consume more than the prescribed dose in the thought that it may prevent them from COVID-19. The overdose of the drug is highly toxic, and it might lead to severe complications.

No change in medication or treatment plan should be done without consulting a rheumatologist.

What Are the Precautionary Measures?

Taking proactive steps and being serious about one's health is essential to prevent COVID-19.

What Should People With Lupus Do If They Think They Have COVID-19?

According to the CDC, anyone who thinks they may have symptoms of COVID-19 should:

What Are the Things That People with Lupus Need to Know?

Things to Do:

Feelings of helplessness and loneliness are common among people with lupus, and coronavirus disease. So take care of your mental health and get your COVID-19 vaccination. Stay in touch with family, friends, and care providers to keep your mental health stable and to let them know if you need any help.

Have any doubts regarding COVID-19? Call a doctor online.

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Last reviewed at:
06 May 2022  -  5 min read




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