Will global warming worsen lupus situation?

No hard evidence on it, say experts

MANILA, Philippines – Doctors have noticed an increase in lupus cases in the Philippines over the past few years.

And experts gathered at a forum on Tuesday, February 21, expressed concern that global warming may contribute to lupus because of the increased exposure of people to ultraviolet rays.

Dr. Sandra Navarra, president of the Rheumatology Education Trust Foundation Inc (RETFI), stressed however that there is no hard evidence linking global warming to the disease.

But since sunlight exposure can trigger lupus symptoms to appear, she said it is possible for cases to increase because of global warming.

Lupus is defined as an “autoimmune disease which can affect the joints and muscles, and also the skin, kidneys, nervous system, lungs, heart, blood-forming organs and blood vessels,” according to a brochure distributed during the forum. The more serious type of lupus is called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) while the milder type is known as discoid lupus erythemamtosus.

RETFI’s records showed that from 1995 to 2010, there were 2,273 SLE patients in the country.

Navarra acknowledged that it is “challenging” for doctors to diagnose and manage lupus because it is “highly individualized.”

And since symptoms vary, patients tend to see specialties other than rheumatologists, thus delaying the management of the illness. – Rappler.com


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