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Lupus patients vulnerable to Covid-19, caution experts

Amaravati: Health experts have urged lupus patients to stay cautious about their health as they are more prone to contracting Covid-19.
Amaravati: Health experts have urged lupus patients to stay cautious about their health as they are more prone to contracting Covid-19. Doctors say lupus or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks its own tissues, weakening the body. Since lupus patients are put on immune suppressing medications, they are most vulnerable to getting infected by Covid-19. “Studies show that people suffering from autoimmune diseases are at high risk of contracting Covid-19,” said senior rheumatologist Dr Manukonda Muralikrishna. He said the prescribed treatment protocols for lupus patients might increase the risk of infections. He said people with SLE complications must be extra careful and stay at home to keep coronavirus at bay. Muralikrishna said various studies have shown that at least one in every thousand in India fall victims to lupus and most of them are women. The disease, he said, could even become life-threatening among women aged between 15 to 45 years. There are common symptoms for lupus and Covid-19, such as fever, difficulty in breathing, dry cough and chest discomfort. People who have difficulty breathing should immediately consult a physician, doctors recommend. Doctors say that lupus patients, if tested positive for Covid-19, should not stop taking any medications without advice from their physician as suddenly stopping the medication may lead to a flare-up of symptoms, which will place additional stress on the body. They added that patients who are already on steroids should not abruptly stop them and should discuss dosages with their doctor. “Antibodies instead of protecting them from viruses, bacteria and other foreign material, attack their own tissue cells in lupus patients. This makes the patient lose immunity,” said Muralikrishna.
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