Lupus danger signs

marciadottin, marciadottin@nationnews.com

Added 13 September 2010

lupus

KIDNEY DISEASE and diabetes are two health threats of which lupus patients have to be wary. Diabetologist Dr Colette George said some lupus patients were at risk of steroid-induced diabetes due to the nature of the disease. “At some point in time many lupus patients need to be treated with steroids and, depending on the severity, may need to be treated in high doses. This can be antagonistic to the production and action of insulin,” she said. George was speaking to the DAILY NATION yesterday at the annual Hope Foundation seminar for newly diagnosed lupus patients at the Amaryllis Beach Resort, Palm Beach, Hastings, Christ Church. This was the first time George had spoken at the event, now in its 18th year. She stressed this type of diabetes was not peculiar to lupus patients and could occur in anyone who required the use of steroids. “Most people on steroids will not develop this type of diabetes. However, there are people who are predisposed to it coupled with Barbados’ high prevalence of diabetes sufferers,” she said. George said the methods of treatment for steroid-induced diabetes included insulin, tablets or proper diet, depending on the severity of the disease. She added this type of diabetes usually affected the post-prandial glucose level (after eating) instead of the pre-prandial level (before eating) in the morning. so she advised those with it to test themselves two hours after eating breakfast. President of the Hope Foundation, Shelly Weir, said the seminar was a good place for those newly diagnosed with lupus to ask questions they could not ask during a regular doctor’s visit, as well as interact with those who had been living with the disease for a longer period of time. Test strips Nephrologist Professor George Nicholson advised lupus patients to use special “test strips” to check their urine for protein – an indication of kidney disease. “Kidney disease when it begins is very silent while lupus has several symptoms. so it is important for patients to monitor themselves. Early detection is important,” he said. Dr Cindy Flower, a rheumatologist, said there were 12 to 25 new lupus patients diagnosed per year and a total of around 2 300 registered people diagnosed with the disease up to 2009. “For such a small island, this puts us third in the world in prevalence for the disease concerning reported cases,” she said. Flower said lupus primarily affected black women of child-bearing age, being 14 times more common in women. Lupus is an auto-immune disease where the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy tissue. This results in symptoms such as inflammation, swelling and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart, and lungs. (CA)

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