Assam Rifles And NIMSR Observe World Lupus Day - Eastern Mirror
Monday, May 27, 2024
Kohima, Nagaland

Assam Rifles and NIMSR observe World Lupus Day

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: May 10, 2024 10:32 pm
Dr. Vizovonuo Visi and Dr. Tewe U Kapfo along with army officers after the awareness lecture on the occasion of World Lupus Day in Kohima on Friday. (EM Images)

KOHIMA Assam Rifles, in collaboration with the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (NIMSR), observed ‘World Lupus Day’ in Kohima on Friday on the theme “Make Lupus visible.”

Dr. Vizovonuo Visi, assistant professor of Community Medicine at NIMSR, highlighted how World Lupus Day is observed annually on May 10. She informed that it was first celebrated in 2004 by the Lupus Foundation of America to unite Lupus Groups comprising patients and their families worldwide.

Lupus, as stated by Dr. Visi, not only affects the individual with the disease but also impacts their family, friends and colleagues. She added that it remains widely under-recognised as a global health issue by the public, health professionals and governments. She underscored the need to create awareness among the masses.

“Lupus is often difficult to diagnose because symptoms frequently mimic common illnesses,” said Visi adding “Early recognition, diagnosis and treatment of lupus help to slow the progression of the disease. Increasing awareness of lupus will save lives.”

The doctor emphasised that World Lupus Day is observed with an aim to draw attention to enhanced patient-care services, expand research into the cause and cure for lupus, early diagnosis and treatment of the disease and improve epidemiological data to grasp the global burden of lupus.

She elaborated that lupus, being a complex autoimmune disease, involves the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy cells, potentially causing damage to various parts of the body.

“Lupus can affect the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, heart, and blood vessels, potentially causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage,” she added.

She apprised that symptoms of lupus fluctuate and evolve over time, making diagnosis challenging, while common symptoms include joint pain, skin rashes, overwhelming fatigue and prolonged fevers.

She elucidated how lupus affects individuals differently, mentioning that while the exact cause is unknown, genetics, environment and hormones are believed to play a role.

An estimated 5 million people worldwide suffer from lupus with children and men also being affected. However, ninety percent (90%) of individuals with lupus are women.

Dr. Tewe U Kapfo, assistant professor from the same department, elucidated the types of lupus including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), cutaneous (skin) lupus, drug-induced lupus and neonatal lupus.

Dr. Kapfo explained that no two cases of lupus are identical with symptoms varying. However, the most common symptoms included fatigue, unexplained fever, malar (butterfly) rash, joint swelling, and hair loss.

She explained that lupus flares might be triggered by stress, sunlight exposure, weather/ temperature changes, infection, work, and exposure to chemicals from home cleaning.

Dr. Kapfo further elaborated that no single test can definitively determine whether a person has lupus, but several laboratory tests may aid in making a diagnosis. She explained that sunscreens with chemical blockers like avobenzone (blocking UVA-1) and physical blockers like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide (blocking UVB and UVA-1) are effective.

Additionally, she suggested smoking cessation, vitamin D supplementation (1000 IU oral vit.D3 to maintain a minimum serum level of 30 ng/ml), and a diet low in fat but high in marine oil.

On follow-up visits, she emphasised that the frequency would vary depending on lupus activity, severity, response to treatment and the type of treatment requiring monitoring for medication side effects.

She highlighted that during routine visits, blood and urine tests should be conducted. She added that even patients with previously normal values and those with known kidney disease should have their urine checked every eight weeks.

On key points, Kapfo emphasised that diagnosis by rheumatology would be considered the gold standard and early screening for organ-threatening disease as crucial.

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: May 10, 2024 10:32:09 pm
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