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Lupus Erythematosus & Rehabilitation

The purpose of this study is to discuss rehabilitation issues associated with lupus erythematosus. In particular, the study focused on rehabilitation issues related to both the physical symptoms of the disease and the psychoemotional and psychosocial reaction to these symptoms. Thus, in order to understand rehabilitation efforts, it is first necessary to understand the basic nature of the disease.

This chapter of the thesis describes the basics associated with the condition its general symptoms, forms, possible etiology, treatment, and coping considerations. This delineation is followed by a discussion of the importance of the issue for rehabilitative counseling.

Description of the General Condition

Lupus is a chronic (long-lasting) autoimmune disease where the immune system, for unknown reasons, becomes hyperactive and attacks normal tissue; in other words, the immune system is fighting the body itself (Goreczny, 1995). This attack results in inflammation and brings about symptoms such as swelling, redness, pain and warmth.

If the signs of inflammation are long-lasting, as they can be in lupus, then damage to the tissues can occur and normal function is impaired. This is why the treatment of lupus is aimed at reducing the inflammation (Goreczny, 1995).

One problematic area with respect to the condition is its diagnosis. According to the Lupus Foundation of America (1998), lupus is one of the most misdiagnosed illnesses in the world, possibly because its symptoms are indicative of other diseases.

Diagnostic failure is serious because if the condition is left untreated it can be fatal.

Kostyak (1995) reports that there are three basic forms of lupus erythematosus. These are: (1) Cutaneous lupus (sometimes called Discoid) which affects the skin; (2) Systemic lupus which attacks multiple systems in the body including the skin, joints, lungs, blood, blood vessels, heart, kidneys, liver, brain and the nervou...

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