Symptoms of chronic disease that ‘takes six years to diagnose’ according to expert

By Staff 6 Min Read

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy body parts and causes inflammation. It can be difficult to diagnose, according to experts

An expert has highlighted a chronic disease which takes an average of 6.4 years to diagnose in the UK, according to an expert.

Affecting one in every 1,000 individuals and predominantly women, Lupus can be difficult to spot. Pooja Gadhia, a litigation executive at Patient Claim Line and a lupus patient herself, shared her personal journey with the condition, emphasizing the lengthy process to reach a diagnosis and the significant improvement in her health following proper treatment.

She explained: “I was diagnosed with lupus around six years ago, but had been suffering with a range of problems for a really long time. The diagnosis took a really long time, but once diagnosed and on the correct medication, my health has improved dramatically.” Detailing the nature of lupus and its symptoms, Pooja said: “Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy body parts and, in turn, causes inflammation.

“There are varying degrees of lupus, and it can show in many forms, which is why it is mistaken for other conditions. Just a few of my symptoms included photosensitivity, swollen joints, kidney pain, fatigue, facial rash, headaches and digestive problems.” On the question of what leads to lupus, Pooja stated: “No one knows how or what causes lupus, but potential triggers include having a severe infection which can initiate the disease, certain medications or too much exposure to sunlight. In my case, I already have some other autoimmune conditions so this made me more susceptible to the condition.

“During the first few years, I was constantly poorly,” she told Bristol Live. “I used to get really bad kidney infections, including kidney stones, and had severe asthma attacks. I was diagnosed with many other conditions, before I got to the bottom of everything. When my lupus was really bad, there were days that I couldn’t get out of bed, because my body hurt so much and I just didn’t have the energy.”

Reflecting on her health situation post-diagnosis, she continued: “After being diagnosed, my health changed significantly. I was prescribed Methotrexate, which is a low-dose chemotherapy drug, which dampens the immune system. This meant that my body stopped attacking itself altogether. I am happy to say that I am currently in remission, and completely lowered the dose of the drugs that I take, and I lead a normal lifestyle now.

“There are various treatments for lupus, including antimalarial drugs, corticosteroids and immunosuppressants. Your consultant will decide on the best course of action to treat your lupus. Lupus affects many parts of the body, mainly the kidneys. It could cause kidney failure in extreme cases, but also affects the lining of the lungs, heart and blood vessels.”

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