- Category: Region 9
Our body is full of trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microscopic living things which are referred to as microorganisms or microbes. They are accumulatively known as the microbiome. While some bacteria are correlated with disease, others are exceptionally important for our immune system, heart, weight and many other aspects of health and most of them mainly inhabit inside our intestines and on our skin. Most of the microbes in our intestines are found in a “pocket” of your large intestine called the cecum, and they are referred to as the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome used to be called the microflora of the gut.
Although many different types of microbes live inside our body, bacteria are the most studied. In fact, as of 2014, it was reported in popular media and in the scientific literature that there are about 10 times as many microbial cells in the human body as there are human cells; this figure was based on estimates that the human microbiome includes around 100 trillion bacterial cells and that an adult human typically has around 10 trillion human cells.
In 2014, the American Academy of Microbiology published a FAQ that emphasized that the number of microbial cells and the number of human cells are both estimates and noted that recent research had arrived at a new estimate of the number of human cells – approximately 37.2 trillion, meaning that the ratio of microbial-to-human cells if the original estimate of 100 trillion bacterial cells is correct, is closer to 3:1. In 2016, another group published a new estimate of the ratio being roughly 1:1 (1.3:1, with "an uncertainty of 25% and a variation of 53% over the population of standard 70-kg [150 lb.] males"). A more recent estimate is a ratio of 1.3:1 bacterial cells for every human cell, whereas the number of phages and viruses outnumber bacterial cells by at least an order of magnitude more. The number of bacterial genes (assuming 1000 bacterial species in the gut with 2000 genes per species) is estimated to be 2,000,000 genes, 100 times the number of approximately 20,000 human genes (source: Wikipedia). Which means we have more bacteria than human cells. What’s more, there are up to 1,000 species of bacteria in the human gut microbiome, and each of them is especially vital for our wellbeing, whereas others may cause illnesses. But together, they work as an additional organ in our body and play a colossal part in our well-being.
The Functions of Gut Microbiome/ Gut Microbiota
- Direct inhibition of pathogens – The gut flora community plays a direct role in defending against pathogens by fully colonizing the space, making use of all available nutrients, and by secreting compounds that kill or inhibit unwelcome organisms that would compete for nutrients with it, these compounds are known as cytokines.
- Development of enteric protection and immune system – In humans, a gut similar to an adult’s is formed within one to two years of birth. As the gut flora gets established, the lining of the intestines – the intestinal epithelium and the intestinal mucosal barrier that it secretes – develop as well, in a way that is tolerant to, and even supportive of, commensalistic microorganisms to a certain extent and also provides a barrier to pathogenic ones.
- Metabolism – Without gut flora, the human body would be unable to utilize some of the undigested carbohydrates it consumes, because some types of gut flora have enzymes that human cells lack for breaking down certain polysaccharides. Carbohydrates that humans cannot digest without bacterial help include certain starches, fiber, oligosaccharides, and sugars that the body failed to digest and absorb like lactose in the case of lactose intolerance and sugar alcohols, mucus produced by the gut, and proteins. Gut flora also synthesizes vitamins like biotin and folate and facilitates the absorption of dietary minerals, including magnesium, calcium, and iron.
- Pharmacomicrobiomics – The human metagenome (i.e., the genetic composition of an individual and all microorganisms that reside on or within the individual’s body) varies considerably between individuals. Apart from carbohydrates, gut microbiota can also metabolize other xenobiotics such as drugs, phytochemicals, and food toxicants.
- Gut-brain axis – The gut-brain axis is the biochemical signaling that takes place between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system.
Fast Facts on the Gut Microbiome
- The biggest populations of microbes reside in the gut. Other popular habitats include the skin and genitals.
- The microbial cells and their genetic material, the microbiome, live with humans from birth. This relationship is vital to normal health.
- The microorganisms living inside the gastrointestinal tract amount to around 4 pounds of biomass. Every individual has a unique mix of species.
- The microbiota is important for nutrition, immunity, and its effects on the brain and behavior. It is implicated in a number of diseases that cause a disturbance in the normal balance of microbes.
The gut microbiome affects the body from birth and all through life by controlling the digestion of food, immune system, central nervous system, and other bodily processes. An imbalance of unhealthy and healthy microbes in the intestines may contribute to weight gain, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and other disorders. To help support the growth of healthy microbes in your gut, eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fermented foods.
“The road to a healthy body is paved with healthy intestines”.
AA VI Angelyn P. Intal, RND
- Relative numbers of bacteria and human cells in the body.
- The Functions of Gut Microbiome/ Gut Microbiota.
- Fast Facts on the Gut Microbiome.
- Category: Region 9
Expectant women are the happiest when news of having the chance to bear a child happens in their lifetime. But it is incorporated with a lot of things in mind, especially the health of the fetus. Being pregnant is at risk of acquiring flu and the immune system is down. These are the reasons why during the spur of the COVID-19 pandemic, pregnant women are one of the groups that were considered to be among the vulnerable groups. What to do if you are pregnant?
At the early stages of pregnancy, it is important to visit your doctor for advice on the supplements needed such as calcium, iron, and folate that are crucial in the development of the fetus. To secure healthy stages of pregnancy there are things we need to be watchful for. First, is our dietary intake, vices should be avoided, lifestyle modification and regular prenatal check-ups should be observed. Now, what are your dietary requirements, and should there be a need for you to exercise? Yes. You need to have dietary requirements to satisfy and exercises to perform to keep you and your growing baby fit and healthy.
The dietary requirement of the pregnant is different from a regular normal individual. Pregnant needs additional 300 calories in their regular caloric requirements. Eat a healthy and variety of foods that can provide a variety of nutrients for the development of the fetus. Omit processed foods such as canned and instant food items. Omit fatty foods such as fast food and processed fats (margarine, lard, etc.). All the macronutrients play different roles in the health of the mother and the fetus, that is why it is important to know what the good sources of these macronutrients are. For carbohydrates, consume more on the complex carb and limit simple sugars. Protein is important in the growth of the fetus consumes 0.88-1.1 gm/kg body weight (Flango, et. Al 2016) but this varies depending on the trimester of your pregnancy. Lastly, fat is important also in the development of the brain but make sure to choose healthy sources of fat to help utilized vitamin A, D, E, and K that is important in the development of the fetus. Good sources are from the plant-based known to be unsaturated fats.
Exercise is also important during pregnancy depending on the advice of your OB gynecologist as to what extent of exercise you can perform. But at least 15-20 minutes of walking every day at a moderate pace will do. As rest and sleep aspects are very important, it is advised that pregnant women should have a restful uninterrupted sleep of at least 8 hours at night and should maintain positive thinking during pregnancy. Remember, anything that a pregnant woman feels, eats, drinks, and does can also affect her baby inside her womb. So, better take care of yourself mommy by having your prenatal check-up regularly, taking your supplements, have an adequately nutritious diet, clear up your mind from worries, do proper physical activity, and have a stress-free pregnancy. Way to go to a safe and healthy 9-month journey before delivery!
NO II Joanna Marie E. Baltazar
1. 23 tips for a healthy pregnancy
2. Maintaining a healthy pregnancy
3. What do you want to know about pregnancy?
4. Protein and amino requirements during pregnancy
- Category: Region 9
Who among us does not know what an Alugbati is? And how come this leafy vegetable is now one of the solutions in fighting malnutrition? Let’s all be amazed by what Alugbati can offer, not just as one of the ingredients in Ginisang Munggo. Basella alba or commonly known as Alugbati is a succulent, branched, twining herbaceous, perennial plant that is cultivated as a vegetable. The serving size of 44 grams provides 10 calories. It provides 50 µg of Vitamin B9, 0.65 mg of Iron, 55 mg of Calcium, 0.049 mg of Copper and 21 mg of Magnesium. Malabar spinach is rich in Vitamin B9 and other proteins as well as minerals. Micronutrient deficiency is one of the biggest problem in health and nutrition and is defined as a lack of essential vitamins and minerals required in small amounts by the body for proper growth and development.
The continuous rising of malnutrition cases leads a group of researchers from the University of the Philippines, Davao City to develop Alugbati noodles as one good way to fight malnutrition. They successfully innovated the typical egg noodles that we have today. Based on their researchers’ findings, substituting the flour with 15% powdered alugbati leaves yielded the most favorable product. Most of the panelists who participated in the study even described the formulation as “tasty and delicious.” “The ‘alugbati’ egg noodles with 15% substitution level had significantly higher ash (2.27 ± 0.28), fiber (1.77 ± 0.38), and protein (11.50 ± 0.11) contents compared to the control,” concluded the researchers. They also noted the possibility of incorporating the alugbati leaf powder into other products that need vitamin A fortification, due to its relatively high total carotenoid content (TCC).
Aside from these mind-blowing information, Alugbati is also an excellent source of iron, calcium, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. It contains high protein and great source of phosphorus and potassium. It has great number of antioxidants such as lutein and beta carotene. Here are 7 healthy benefits of Alugbati:
- Healthy heart. Folate is essential to reduce the homocysteine level which is present in the blood. Homocysteine increases the chances of strokes and heart attacks. Folate helps to convert the homocysteine into methionine which normalizes the level of homocysteine. It has a positive role in metabolizing minerals as well as antioxidant activities. The studies have shown that high intake of folate reduces the chances of cardiovascular disease.
- Treats depression. The intake of folate with adequate amount of veggies as well as plant foods helps to treat the depression naturally. The high intake of folate helps to lower the depression significantly in depressed patients.
- Prevent dementia. The studies show that high levels of homocysteine increase the chances of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The low amount of folate in the body leads to poor mental activities. The folic acid decreases the level of homocysteine, but it has not been proven that it improves the cognitive function and forbid diseases. The addition of diet rich in folate and nutrients helps to treat the Alzheimer’s disease.
- Treatment for cancer. The low presence of folate in the body increases the chances of colon, cervical, breast, lung, and brain cancer. The evidence has shown that the diet rich in folate protects from cancer development. One should intake the natural forms of Vitamin because the pharmaceutical form of vitamin differs from natural ones which provide the protection.
- Utilizes amino acids, iron and vitamin B12. Anemia is also one of the causes of folate deficiency. It is the health condition where the red blood cells are formed improperly. Folate assists in the absorption of Vitamin B12 which helps to absorb the nutrients, brain function, and provides energy.
- Pregnancy. Folate is one of the vital vitamins which is required to having a healthy pregnancy. The deficiency of folate results in neural tube defects such as anencephaly, spina bifida, limb malformations and heart ailments. Folate is vital for copying DNA and builds the new cells. Low levels of folate lead to developments issues which remain after birth as well. Leafy greens, avocados, sprouted beans and citrus are the folate rich foods which one should intake during pregnancy.
- Provides energy. Anemia is the result of iron deficiency. The low amount of iron results in low hemoglobin due to which adequate amount of oxygen could not be transported to the cells. The iron deficiency leads to poor mental function, lack of energy and apathy. Children and pre-menopausal women are in high chances of suffering from anemia if they do not consume the foods iron rich foods.
Truly nature has lots to offer, and one proof of that is Alugbati. Let’s all give credit to this information and disseminate it to our friends and family. Remember that consuming natural foods like fruits and vegetables can really make us healthy and help us fight diseases. Dig in and be healthy!
NOI Zamubec Alomar C. Adlawan
- Malabar spinach – Basella alba
- Micronutrient Deficiency
- Mindanao Researchers Develop Vitamin A-Rich Noodles with Alugbati Flour
(Published on June 22, 2020 by Mikael Angelo Francisco)
- Health benefits of Malabar spinach
- Category: Region 9
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that has gained a lot of attention for its purported health benefits. But what is glutathione and how does it affect the body beneficially?
Glutathione, also known as GSH, is a molecule found naturally in your body and is a very strong antioxidant that the body makes and uses every day. It is produced by the liver and nerve cells in the central nervous system. It is an antioxidant produced in cells that is comprised largely of three amino acids: glutamine, glycine, and cysteine. The levels of Glutathione in the body may be reduced by several factors which includes poor nutrition, environmental toxins, and stress. Its levels also decline with age, stress, and toxin in exposure.
In addition to being produced naturally by the body, glutathione can be given intravenously, topically, or as an inhalant. It’s also available as an oral supplement in capsule and liquid form. However, oral ingestion of glutathione may not be as effective as intravenous delivery for some conditions. Glutathione is also found in some foods, although cooking and pasteurization diminish its levels significantly. Its highest concentrations are in raw or very rare meat, unpasteurized milk and other unpasteurized dairy products, and freshly-picked fruits and vegetables, such as avocado, and asparagus. A diet rich in glutathione-boosting foods does not pose any risks. However, taking supplements may not be advisable for everyone. Possible side effects may include abdominal cramps, bloating, trouble breathing due to bronchial constriction, and allergic reactions, such as rash
- Reduces oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there’s an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to fight them off. Too-high levels of oxidative stress may be a precursor to multiple diseases. These include diabetes, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. Glutathione helps stave off the impact of oxidative stress, which may, in turn, reduce disease.
- May improve psoriasis. A study published in the National Library of Medicine revealed that the ability of nondenatured bioactive whey protein isolate to increase the level of glutathione when taken 20g orally per day for three months can result to a significant improvement for patients with psoriasis. However, researchers stated that more study is needed.
- Reduces cell damage in alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Cell death in the liver may be exacerbated by a deficiency in antioxidants, including glutathione. This can lead to fatty liver disease in both those who misuse alcohol and those who don’t. Glutathione has been shown to improve protein, enzyme, and bilirubin levels in the blood of individuals with alcoholic and non-alcoholic chronic fatty liver disease. A study published in the National Library of Medicine reported that glutathione was most effective when given to people with fatty liver disease intravenously, in high doses. It also showed reductions in malondialdehyde, a marker of cell damage in the liver. It is also found that orally administered glutathione had positive effects on people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease following proactive lifestyle changes. In this study, glutathione was provided in supplement form in a dose of 300 milligrams per day for four months.
- Improves insulin resistance in older individuals. As people age, they produce less glutathione. Researchers at Baylor School of Medicine used a combination of animal and human studies to explore the role of glutathione in weight management and insulin resistance insulin in older individuals. Study findings indicated that low glutathione levels were associated with less fat burning and higher rates of fat storing in the body. Older subjects had cysteine and glycine added to their diets to increase glutathione levels, which spiked within two weeks, improving insulin resistance and fat burning.
- Reduces symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease affects the central nervous system and is defined by symptoms such as tremors. It currently has no cure. One older study documented intravenous glutathione’s positive effects on symptoms such as tremors and rigidity. While more research is needed, this case report suggests that glutathione may help reduce symptoms, improving quality of life in people with this disease.
- May help fight against autoimmune disease. The chronic inflammation caused by autoimmune diseases can increase oxidative stress. These diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and lupus. According to onethe studies published in the National Library of Medicine, glutathione helps reduce oxidative stress by either stimulating or reducing the body’s immunological response. Autoimmune diseases attack the mitochondria in specific cells. Glutathione works to protect cell mitochondria by eliminating free radicals.
- May reduce oxidative damage in children with autism. Several studies published in the National Library of Medicine, including a clinical trial reported in Medical Science Monitor, indicate that children with autism have higher levels of oxidative damage and lower levels of glutathione in their brains. This increased susceptibility to neurological damage in children with autism from substances such as mercury.
- May reduce the impact of uncontrolled diabetes. Long-term high blood sugar is associated with reduced amounts of glutathione. This can lead to oxidative stress and tissue damage. A study found that dietary supplementation with cysteine and glycine boosted glutathione levels. It also lowered oxidative stress and damage in people with uncontrolled diabetes, despite high sugar levels. Study participants were placed on 0.81 millimoles per kilogram (mmol/kg) of cysteine and 1.33 mmol/kg glycine daily for two weeks.
- May reduce respiratory disease symptoms. N-acetylcysteine is a medication used to treat conditions such as asthma and cystic fibrosis. As an inhalant, it helps to thin mucus and make it less paste-like. It also reduces inflammation. N-acetylcysteine is byproduct of glutathione.
- Skin whitening. It can also cause skin lightening by converting melanin to a lighter color and deactivating the enzyme tyrosinase, which helps produce the pigment.
Boosting glutathione by eating foods rich in glutathione may provide many health benefits including reduction of oxidants stress. However, supplements may be appropriate for some people, but they may not be safe for everyone, and they could interact with other medications a person is taking. The best way to do is to speak with a doctor before starting glutathione supplementation to determine whether it will be safe or effective for you.
AA VI Angelyn P. Intal, RND
- Overview and benefits of Glutathione.
- What is Glutathione?
- Can Glutathione Be Used As A Treatment For Psoriasis?
- Category: Region 9
ZAMBOANGA CITY-- National Nutrition Council Regional Office IX (NNC IX) conducted the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement 3.0 Orientation last September 30, 2021 at Alavar Restaurant, Zamboanga City which was participated physically and virtually by RNAHC members, three (3) provinces and five (5) cities, Southern Philippine Deep Sea Fishing Association- Business sector, from the academe attended by Western Mindanao State University, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Pilar College, Southern City College, and Universidad de Zamboanga. And from the civil society organizations were from Kids Who Farm, Zamboanga Basilan Integrated Development Alliance (ZABIDA), I Can Make A Difference incorporated, JCI La Bella, La Hermosa Assembly No. 28 International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, Rotary North, James J. Wilson No. 21, Order of DeMolay, Gen. John Joseph Pershing Priory No. 5, Order of Knighthood and the Amaranth.
The activity highlighted the Regional Nutrition Situation, Rationale and the Roles of SUN networks, Overview of SUN Movement 3.0 strategy, Messages of Commitment from the business sector, civil society organizations and the academe, and recitation of the Pledge of Commitment among the participants.
SUN is a growing movement to save millions of children’s lives, it is a non-precedented collective worldwide commitment to sustenance focusing on to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030.This orientation aims to expand the coverage of SUN networks together with the business sectors, civil society organizations, and academe encouraging their invaluable involvement and to acquire their significant contribution in the alleviation of all forms of malnutrition in Zamboanga Peninsula.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Joshua G. Brillantes, DOH CHD 9 Regional Director and Regional Nutrition Anti-Hunger Committee Chair (RNAHC), warmly greeted the attendees while making a clear and solid statement on the purpose of the activity. “Convening together is just a start; keeping united is progress; but working as one is success… with inclusivity in working together as one community to impact the lives of the people being the greatest and the most valuable resource of the nation and the world… I hope that this occasion can yield a better outcome, maybe not today, not tomorrow but soon in the days to come. Together let us all rise.”, he said.
The SUN Coordinator for the Philippines, Assistant Secretary of Health and National Nutrition Council Executive Director Azucena M. Dayanghirang, MD, MCH, CESO III, also graced the event with her virtual presence. She said in her inspirational message, “We must work in unity that demands complete trust, collaboration alignment, integration of actions and full commitment to implement convergent actions along with PPAN. And encouraged everyone to help fight malnutrition despite this pandemic, let this not stop us from pushing through our advocacies and plans in fighting all forms of malnutrition”.
Ms. Nimfa D. Ekong, NNC IX Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator (RNPC), presented the rationale and the roles of the SUN Networks to inspire everyone to work together in the elimination of all forms of malnutrition because this is not a one-man job but needs a collective-efforts from the government and private stakeholders. She also encouraged all participants to be one of the spoons advocating good nutrition among Filipinos beginning in the first 1000 days of life!
NNC IX Nutrition Officer I Ms. Zhalimar A. Jakaria-Patulada presented the Zamboanga Peninsula Regional Nutrition Situation wherein she stated that malnutrition is a double burden characterized by the coexistence of undernutrition along with overweight and obesity, or diet-related non-communicable diseases, within individuals, households and populations, and across the life-course. According to the data shown, Dipolog City has the lowest prevalence in all 3 indicators (Stunded, wasted and underweight). And so, we encourage other LGUs to do the same. Lastly, NO III Ms. April Jasmine May C. Ducusin, OIC- NNC Nutrition Policy and Planning Division, presented the overview of the SUN 3.0 strategy that is committed towards effective nutrition action and leaving no one behind. It ensures to strengthen partnerships to achieve greater impact on nutrition through food systems, health systems, social protection systems and actions by the private sector.
Presided by RNPC Ekong, the activity ended successfully with the presence of 105 participants from various sectors and formally concluded with a Closing Message delivered virtually by Asst. Regional Director Mr. Arnel F. Gudio from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) - Region IX. He said that eliminating malnutrition is indeed a collaborative effort of all the stakeholders, the government, the academe, the civil society organization, and private organizations. With all the members working together, the 2030 malnutrition vision is not a distant future and that the DILG is in full support in this campaign in becoming a region-free of malnutrition. With that he ended his message with a quote that says “There is strength in numbers and with our concerted efforts to this course we may achieve the balance and healthy environment for our children”.
With this, the National Nutrition Council Region IX was glad and looking forward to working together with the different business sectors, civil society organizations and the academe and that we guarantee them that this is not the end but rather the beginning of our partnership to stop malnutrition in the region. And let me reiterate our call to action, “Let us all work together to eliminate all forms of malnutrition, be one of the spoons to advocate for good nutrition among Filipinos beginning in the first 1000 days of life!” Let this be our goal to Engage, Inspire and Invest for a better future and better Philippines!
- Category: Region 9
The immune system is supposed to fight possible threats to body infections. However, there is a chronic autoimmune disease called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), commonly referred to simply as lupus in which the immune system attacks its own tissues, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage in the affected organs. It can affect the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels. The seriousness can range from mild to life-threatening and currently, there’s no cure for lupus and it takes years to manage the disease. Women, men, children, and even newborns may experience this, but it is more common among women ages of 15 and 45 during their reproductive years, with about 90% of diagnosed cases being women of reproductive age. Women tend to experience the general symptoms of lupus, but they can also have complications that impact various parts of the body. These complications can include kidney problems, osteoporosis, and heart disease.
Women with lupus can still get pregnant. However, there is a risk of poor pregnancy outcomes (miscarriage) in people with lupus. If you’re considering a future pregnancy, start talking to your healthcare provider several months in advance during a preconception appointment. Your provider may need to adjust your lupus medications to ensure that they’re safe for pregnancy.
Many of your symptoms might come and go in waves often called flare-ups. At times, symptoms of lupus might be mild or not noticeable. Other times, you could experience severe symptoms of the condition that heavily impact your daily life. There are several different types of lupus. SLE is the most common. Other types of lupus include:
- Cutaneous lupus erythematosus: This type of lupus affects the skin — cutaneous is a term meaning skin. Individuals with cutaneous lupus erythematosus may experience skin issues like a sensitivity to the sun and rashes. Hair loss can also be a symptom of this condition.
- Drug-induced lupus: These cases of lupus are caused by certain medications. People with drug-induced lupus may have many of the same symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus, but it’s usually temporary. Often, this type of lupus goes away once you stop the medication that’s causing it.
- Neonatal lupus: A rare type of lupus, neonatal lupus is a condition found in infants at birth. Children born with neonatal lupus have antibodies that were passed to them from their mother — who either had lupus at the time of the pregnancy or may have the condition later in life. Not every baby born to a mother with lupus will have the disease.
- Parts of the body that can be impacted by lupus can include the skin, blood, joints, kidneys, brain, heart and lungs.
- Skin: Skin problems are a common feature of lupus. Some people with lupus have a red rash over their cheeks and the bridge of their nose. Because the location of this rash is the same as the common markings of a wolf, the name "lupus" (wolf in Latin) was given to this disease many years ago. Other skin problems that may happen include large red, circular rashes (plaques), which may scar (called discoid lupus). Skin rashes are usually made worse by sunlight. Hair loss and mouth sores are also common.
- Blood: Blood involvement can happen with or without other symptoms. Individuals with lupus may have dangerous reductions in the number of red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets (cells that help clot the blood). Sometimes, changes in blood counts may contribute to symptoms of fatigue (low red blood cell count, anemia), serious infections (low white blood cell count), or easy bruising(low platelet count). However, many people do not have symptoms that indicate blood abnormalities, so it’s important to have periodic blood tests in order to detect any problems. Blood clots are seen with increased frequency in lupus. Clots often happen in the legs (a vein clot, called deep venous thrombosis), lungs (a lung clot, called pulmonary embolus), or brain (stroke). Blood clots that develop in lupus patients may be associated with the production of antiphospholipid antibodies. These antibodies are abnormal proteins that may increase the tendency of the blood to clot.
- Joints: Arthritisis very common in people who have lupus. There may be pain, with or without swelling. Stiffness and pain may be especially uncomfortable in the morning. Arthritis may be a problem for only a few days to weeks or may be a permanent feature of the disease. Fortunately, arthritis is usually not crippling.
- Kidneys: Kidney involvement in people with lupus is potentially life threatening and may occur in up to half of lupus patients. Kidney problems may become apparent when lupus patients feel ill with arthritis, have a rash, fever and weight loss. Less often, kidney disease may happen when there are no other symptoms of lupus. Kidney disease itself usually doesn’t produce symptoms until it’s in the advanced stages. It is important that kidney disease be diagnosed early and treated appropriately. The earliest signs of kidney disease are apparent from a urine test called urinalysis.
- Brain: Fortunately, brain involvement is a rare problem in people with lupus. When present, it may cause confusion, depression, seizuresand, rarely, strokes.
- Heart and lungs: Heart and lung involvement is often caused by inflammation of the covering of the heart (pericardium) and lungs (pleura). When these structures become inflamed, you may develop chest pain, irregular heartbeatand build-up of fluid around the lungs (pleuritis or pleurisy) and heart (pericarditis).
- If one member of your family is infected with lupus, you have a higher risk of having lupus. This can greatly affect parts of your body. It can cause aches and pains, as well as serious complications to your major organs. This can lead to organ damage if left untreated.
Your healthcare provider will typically start with a family history to see if lupus runs in your family. Then, your provider will want to discuss any symptoms you’ve experienced. After talking to you about your symptoms, your provider will typically do some lab tests. These tests are looking for things like low blood cell counts, anemia and other abnormalities. The diagnosis process can be long and difficult for lupus. The symptoms that you might experience with lupus can overlap with those of other conditions for example, diabetes and arthritis. Symptoms of lupus may also take time to develop, adding to the challenge of diagnosing the disease. When you feel something unusual in you, better see a doctor for professional examination. For all we know, we only have one life to live and seeking medical attention can save us.
NO I Zhalimar A. Jakaria-Patulada
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)