BHUBANESWAR: The Institute of Medical Sciences and Sum Hospital under SOA University has opened a Department of Immunology and Rheumatology with special focus on autoimmune diseases like Lupus, which has been in the news after the controversial death of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor.
Lupus, a treatable disease, is taking a heavy toll of human lives, particularly women, due to lack of awareness. It is known to mainly affect women rather than men with a 9:1 ratio.
“Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s cells and tissue resulting in inflammation and tissue damage and affects different organs, including the skin and mucous membranes, kidneys, lungs, heart and central nervous system,” president of the Indian Rheumatology Association, Prof G Narsimulu said.
Inaugurating the facility, the eminent rheumatologist said IMSSH was the first private hospital in the country to have the exclusive department. Hardly 10 of the 380 medical colleges in the country have such a department with facilities to treat Lupus.
Though there is no data on the prevalence of Lupus in India, worldwide estimates show 20 to 150 cases per lakh population. Most of the female victims of the ailment were in the child-bearing age group of 15 to 45.
Pointing out that the disease required regular and careful follow-up, Prof Narsimulu said it was known as ‘the great imitator’ because it often mimicked illnesses causing confusion.
The disease can be treated if diagnosed properly. While 50 per cent of patients died within five years in 1950, today 90 per cent of the sufferers survived for more than 20 years with advances in diagnosis and treatment, Head of the department of Immunology at the Sanjay Gandhi Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Lucknow, Prof Ramanath Mishra said.
Head of department of Rheumatology at the Institute of Post-Graduate Medical Education and Research (IPGMER), Kolkata, Prof Alakendu Ghosh, Prof Bidyut Das of SCB Medical College Hospital, Cuttack and Prof D K Ray, Medical Director of IMSSH also spoke.