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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Systemic Lypus Erythematosus


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease in which various organs or tissues of the body are attacked by a person’s immune system and causes damage to the body. People suffering from Lupus may have only mild symptoms which can be treated but sometimes it can be complicated and even causes death as well. If this disease is serious, patient can have problems with their kidneys, lungs, heart etc.

Types of SLE

  • Drug-induced systemic
  • Subacute cutaneous
  • Neonatal
  • Systemic
  • Discoid/ Cutaneous

Cause of SLE

  • Genetic link – The person will develop Lupus due to gene defects which may affect the hormones, cell function and immune system. The twins will have three to ten folds of risk of developing lupus than a normal baby.
  • Environmental factors – Environmental factors play a vital role in determining whether the person will have Lupus or not. Certain factors like toxins, drugs and diet are also the cause for Lupus. Sun exposure should also be avoided.
  • Infections like Hepatitis C, Cytomegalovirus etc also develop Lupus.

Symptoms of SLE

  • Fatigue – Most people suffer from mild to extreme fatigue. Due to fatigue people do not involved in activities and exercises which are very beneficial for them. Acute flares can be the cause for increased fatigue.
  • Skin problems – Skin problems are more prevalent in whites causing a disease called classic lupus rash in which redness appears on the cheeks and due to sun exposure. There are also red spots on the face, mouth, hands, arms etc.
  • Heart problems – People having heart problems may experience extreme and sudden pain in the left side of the chest which can spread to shoulders, back or neck etc.

There are many more symptoms like-

    • Hair loss
    • Joint pain
    • Fever
    • Nervous system disorders

Rick Factors of SLE

There are various risk factors which increase the risk for Lupus and they are-

  • Female
  • Have a family history of Lupus
  • Age between 15 and 40
  • Black or Asian
  • Associated with drug-induced systemic lupus can take medications

When to Call a Doctor

  • A sudden increase in shortness of breath
  • A sudden and severe headache occurs
  • A seizure
  • Have swelling in the lower legs or feet
  • Have chest pain

Diagnosis of SLE

After knowing that the person is having lupus, the doctor physically examine the patient on the various criteria-

Skin rashes on the arms, neck due to sun exposure, Problems with the blood like the person is having anemia, Nervous system problems and many more.

During diagnosis of Lupus, following tests are done:-

  • Complete blood count
  • Urinalysis
  • Antibody blood tests
  • Complement test
  • Kidney biopsy

Treatment of SLE

The treatment for Lupus depends on the symptoms, and how much they have affected the organs. Various treatments can be done like by self care and medication. If the symptoms are mild, the treatment includes:-

  • Applying corticosteroid cream for rashes
  • Avoiding sun exposure
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

If Lupus is severe, then the treatment includes:-

  • Medications that suppress the immune system
  • Taking high dose corticosteroids

If self care is done then treatment includes:-

  • Not smoking
  • Doing regular exercise
  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • Developing a support system of family, friends and doctors
  • Education about lupus and self care

Prevention of SLE

There is no such special way of preventing from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus but patient can only do good self care to manage this disease. The person can do regular exercises and take a nutritious diet so that he/ she can be physically fit. He/ She can apply sunscreens before going out in the sun.

This will help in preventing them from skin problems. So, in this way the person can take various precautions from preventing Lupus. There are various other ways to prevent Lupus.

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