Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 11:
Unknown to many, Lupus is taking a heavy toll of lives with more number of cases getting diagnosed with every passing day, experts say.
The disease, otherwise known as SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), does not have a known cure but can be treated so that the patient can lead a near normal life. Incidentally, it is known to mainly affect women rather than men with a 9:1 ratio.
“It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s cells and tissue resulting in inflammation and tissue damage and affect different organs including the skin and mucous membranes, kidneys, lungs, heart and central nervous system,” Prof G Narsimulu, President of the Indian Rheumatology Association, said.
He was speaking at a seminar on “Living well with Lupus” organized at the Institute of Medical Sciences and Sum Hospital (IMSSH) to mark the World Lupus Day on Sunday.
Earlier, he inaugurated the department of Immunology and Rheumatology at the IMSSH saying it was the first private hospital in the country to open the facility. At present, hardly ten out of over 380 medical colleges in the country have immunology and rheumatology departments, he said.
Most of the female victims of the ailment were in the child bearing age group of 15 to 45 with the worldwide prevalence of the disease being 20 to 150 cases per 100,000 population. There was, however, no recent data on the exact prevalence of Lupus in India.
Pointing out that the disease required regular and careful follow-up, Prof. Narsimulu said it was known as “the great imitator” because it often mimicked illnesses causing confusion.
Prof (Dr) Ramanath Mishra, Head of the department of Immunology at the Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Lucknow, who also graced the occasion, said with improvement in treatment there had been a dramatic decrease in mortality.
While 50 per cent of patients died within five years in 1950, today 90 per cent of the sufferers survived for more than 20 years, he said.
Among others, Prof (Dr) Alakendu Ghosh, Head of department of Rheumatology at the Institute of Post-Graduate Medical Education and Research (IPGMER), Kolkata, Prof (Dr) Bidyut Das of SCB Medical College Hospital, Cuttack and Prof DK Ray, Medical Director of IMSSH, also spoke.
At present, over five million people worldwide suffer from the disease while each year over a 100,000 young women, men and children were newly diagnosed with the disease, Dr. Jyoti Ranjan Parida, Associate Professor in the department of Immunology and Rheumatology at Sum Hospital, said.
Lupus, however, was not contagious and not known to pass to the offspring genetically, he said.
“Although there is no cure for Lupus, it is treatable and can help the patient to lead a near normal life. Treatment is generally based on symptoms and the organs affected. But major organ involvement in the form of brain or kidney would require treatment with high dose steroids and immunosuppressive drugs. It requires regular monitoring by a Clinical Immunologist or Rhematologist who could pick up the warning signals and prevent it in time,” Dr Parida said.
Prof PK Mohanty, Medical Superintendent and Prof Kiran Dukhu, Dean of the institution, were present.