Living with pemphigus can be a serious threat to your physical and emotional well-being. Though auto-immune skin disease is manageable, it still affects countless individuals each year and can cause effects that range from mild irritation to life-threatening complications. One of the most important questions you may have as you battle this condition is “what is my life expectancy?” Thankfully, with early diagnosis and effective treatments in place, individuals living with pemphigus can often experience long lifespans that are near or equal to that of those without the disorder. In this blog post, we will take over what pemphigus is, how it’s treated, and how it impacts your longevity and quality of life.
Overview of Pemphigus and its Causes
Pemphigus is an auto-immune skin disorder that affects the layers of your skin and mucous membranes. It can cause blisters, rashes, and a severe burning sensation in areas where it develops. In most cases of pemphigus, the body’s own antibodies attack proteins called desmogleins which are responsible for connecting the cells of your skin together.
The exact cause of this disorder is unknown, however, it can be caused by various factors such as sun exposure, certain medications, or even extreme stress. It is more common in adults over the age of 60 and people from Mediterranean regions.
Types of Pemphigus and Their Life Expectancies:
There are three types of pemphigus: pemphigus vulgaris, pemphigus foliaceus, and paraneoplastic pemphigus.
- Pemphigus Vulgaris is the most severe form of the disorder and it affects both the skin and mucous membranes. With this type of pemphigus, individuals can expect a life expectancy that is on par with those without the disorder.
- Pemphigus foliaceus is a less severe form of the disorder and it generally affects only the outer layers of your skin. This type of pemphigus does not usually affect mucous membranes and typically has a life expectancy that is slightly longer than those without the disorder.
- Paraneoplastic Pemphigus is an extremely rare form of pemphigus and it can have devastating effects on your health. This type of pemphigus is often accompanied by another medical condition, such as cancer, and can have a significantly negative impact on your life expectancy.
Treatment Options for Pemphigus Patients:
Living with pemphigus can be a challenging experience, however, there are many treatment options available to help manage the symptoms and reduce your risk of serious complications.
Your doctor may recommend corticosteroids as a first-line approach to managing this condition. Corticosteroids work by reducing inflammation which helps to reduce pain and swelling. They may be taken orally or applied to the skin in the form of a cream or ointment.
Other treatment options include immunosuppressants, which work by preventing your body from attacking its own tissues. Immunosuppressants can help reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms, however they can also cause serious side effects such as increased risk of infection.
In more severe cases, your doctor may recommend intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy. IVIG is a type of treatment that involves transfusions of antibodies from donor blood to help reduce inflammation and boost immune system function.
Strategies to Improve Quality of Life for those Living with Pemphigus
Living with a chronic condition such as pemphigus can be incredibly difficult, and finding ways to improve your quality of life is essential. Here are some strategies you may want to consider:
Developing a healthy lifestyle – Eating nutritious foods, getting enough rest, and exercising regularly can help strengthen your immune system and reduce the severity of symptoms.
Finding emotional support – Surrounding yourself with a strong network of family and friends can be incredibly helpful when dealing with pemphigus. Talking about your feelings and worries openly will help you to cope better.
Exploring alternative treatments – Certain types of yoga, meditation, massage therapy, and acupuncture can be great ways to reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.
Maintaining positive thinking – Thinking positively can help you stay motivated, cope better with symptoms, and may even lead to a longer life expectancy.
Living with pemphigus can be a serious challenge, however, there are several treatment options and strategies you can use to manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life. Understanding the different types of pemphigus and their associated life expectancies is essential for those looking to make informed decisions about their health. With proper treatment and lifestyle changes, many individuals are able to significantly improve their life expectancy and lead healthier, more fulfilling life.