Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to create abnormal antibodies to attack its own tissues. These antibodies attack both the skin tissues and those of internal systemic organs. Any part of the body may be affected, including vital organs like the kidneys, heart, brain and lungs. Joint pain and stiffness are very common symptoms among patients who suffer with systemic lupus erythematosus. In some cases, arthritis can develop, as can hair loss, respiratory pain, mouth sores, fatigue, sunlight sensitivity, and unexplained fever. Symptoms may persist chronically or may come and go in sporadic ‘flare-ups.’
Did you know…
that there are 10 women suffering from lupus for every 1 man diagnosed with the disease? Most people who develop systemic lupus erythematosus are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40 and have ethnic backgrounds. According to the American College of Rheumatology, Asians and individuals with dark skin are especially prone to developing lupus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Could I be at risk of developing systemic lupus erythematosus?
Lupus can affect anyone, though it is believed that genetics may play a role in predisposition to the disease. However, 9 in 10 people with lupus have no family history of the disease. It is believed that environmental factors play a significant role in the development of lupus.
What types of a systemic lupus erythematosus treatments are available?
Though there is currently no cure for systemic lupus erythematosus, there are certain medications and lifestyle modifications that may lessen symptoms and prevent tissue damage. Anti-inflammatory, anti-malarial, and immunosuppressant medications can all play a role in managing the disease, minimizing symptoms and relieving pain.
What types of long-term outcomes can I expect with treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus from my rheumatology doctors?
With proper medical care and oversight by a rheumatologist, systemic lupus erythematosus does not have to progress or become less manageable. Many people who have lupus live relatively normal lives though it is important to visit a rheumatologist regularly to monitor the status of the disease.