Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Sle - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common form of lupus- an autoimmune disease- a condition in which your own body attacks healthy cells and damages them. During an autoimmune reaction, your body perceives its own part as a foreign particle and launches an immune response against it. It is a lifelong condition that needs to be managed properly. Until now, there is no cure for it. 


The symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus are inflammation, damage, and swelling of joints, kidneys, blood, heart, lungs, and skin. It is often difficult to diagnose systemic lupus erythematosus because its symptoms resemble other diseases. The characteristic symptom of it is a rash on both cheeks, having a shape of a butterfly. Due to its varied symptoms, experts call it a disease of 1000 faces. 


Some people are born with a tendency to have systemic lupus erythematosus that can be triggered upon having an infection or taking certain medicines, or even on expsoure to sunlight. 


Symptoms


The signs and symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus vary a lot. The two patients having the same disease that is systemic lupus erythematosus may complain about different symptoms. Systemic lupus erythematosus may show its signs and symptoms gradually or suddenly. They may remain permanent or temporary, ranging from mild to severe in intensity. Mostly the symptoms are mild, but they may aggravate at times called a flare. After that, they may get better over time. The signs and symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus vary, depending on the type of body system involved. It can involve;


  • joints

  • skin

  • lungs

  • brain

  • kidneys

  • heart

  • blood


The most common signs and symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus are;


  • headaches

  • confusion

  • memory loss

  • high-grade fever

  • fatigue and lethargy

  • body aches

  • joint pain

  • rashes- a characteristic butterfly rash on the face

  • lesions on skin

  • shortness of breath


Sjogren’s syndrome- that is accompanied by chronic dry eyes and dry mouth

pericarditis and pleuritis (pleuritis), which both can cause chest pain

It also causes Raynaud's phenomenon- a condition when spasms occur in your blood vessels, causing your extremities to turn white and blue upon exposure to cold or emotional stress. 


Systemic lupus erythematosus photosensitivity


Photosensitivity means being sensitive to ultraviolet rays, like that of sunlight, or present in certain types of artificial light. Too much sunlight can be bad for anyone. But people with systemic lupus erythematosus are more sensitive to sunlight. Upon its expsoure, the symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus can exacerbate, causing a flare. It can cause the following signs and symptoms upon sun expsoure.


  • joint pain

  • internal swelling

  • rashes- that are sensitive to sunlight when the autoantibody SSA (Ro) is present

  • fatigue


Therefore, if you have systemic lupus erythematosus and are going out, make sure you wear sunscreen to protect yourself. 


Causes


The exact causes of systemic lupus erythematosus are unknown. But researchers think that the following things can play a role in causing it. 


Environmental triggers like stress, smoking, and exposure to pollutions, and getting exposed to chemicals like silica.


Genetic tendency- having a family history of systemic lupus erythematosus plays a role in causing it.


Hormones- according to some researches, high levels of estrogen can cause systemic lupus erythematosus. 


Infections- cytomegalovirus and Epstein bar virus may increase the risk of systemic lupus erythematosus. 


Drugs and medications- taking drugs like hydralazine, procainamide, and quinidine can cause drug-induced systemic lupus erythematosus (DIL). Medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and ankylosing spondylitis can increase the risk of DIL.


Risk factors


Female gender- women are at more risk of having systemic lupus erythematosus as compared to men.


Age- people between the age of 15 to 44 are more often diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus. However, it can occur at any age. 


Family history- having a family history of systemic lupus erythematosus puts you at risk of developing it. 


Conclusion 


Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease- a condition in which your own body attacks the healthy cells of your body and damages them. During an autoimmune reaction, your body perceives its own part as a foreign particle and launches an immune response against it. It is a lifelong condition that needs to be managed properly. Until now, there is no cure for it.


Doctors For Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Sle

Dr. Aamir Saeed

Rheumatologist

22 Years

Doctors for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Sle in Different Cities