What is Lupus?
Lupus, arguably the most severe and complex of the autoimmune diseases can sometimes 'overlap' with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). Figures vary, but approximately 1 in 5 of all lupus patients have 'sticky blood' – indeed it was in a lupus clinic that the clinical details of patients with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) were first defined, as was the sensitive blood test called "anti-cardiolipin antibodies".
Lupus itself mostly affects women aged 15-50. Its features include fatigue, aches and pains, and rashes. More seriously it can cause kidney and brain damage if not treated promptly.
It is very important to recognise the relationship between lupus and APS. Lupus patients do have a 1 in 5 risk of APS. However, patients with "primary" APS only very rarely go on to develop lupus.
Because of the frequency and importance of this condition, the next section is an extended review of the signs, symptoms and treatment of lupus.
Lupus is a complex and unpredictable disease, which varies greatly among patients and has a significant impact on an individual's daily living and quality of life, with extreme fatigue and joint pain as the most commonly reported symptoms. With earlier diagnosis and treatment the outcomes for patients are markedly improved, although over half of patients report that they are unable to carry out their usual daily activities. On average this complex illness currently takes 6.4 years from the onset of the first symptom(s) to diagnose in the UK.