sle treatment Systemic Lupus (SLE) Erythematosus Causes, Symptoms

systemic erythematosus Causes, Symptoms and what is ? What causes Which are the lupus signs Treatment for lupus.

what is lupus
Causes, Symptoms.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus)

What is lupus?

Systemic lupus erythematosus, also known as SLE or simply lupus, is a disease characterized by periodic episodes of inflammation and damage to joints, tendons, other connective tissues, and some organs, including the heart, lungs, blood vessels, brain, kidneys and skin. The most affected organs are the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain. Lupus affects all people differently and the effects of the disease range from mild to severe. Lupus can potentially be deadly.

The majority of people with lupus are young women (from late adolescence to 45 years old). It may be because estrogen (a female hormone) seems to be associated with lupus. Lupus affects African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos and Native Americans more than whites. In children, lupus occurs most often after age 15 and older. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 25,000 children and adolescents have lupus or a related disorder.

The disease has periods of exacerbation and periods of remission (partial or complete absence of symptoms). Children with lupus have a higher renal involvement. The severity of renal involvement can alter the survival rate of patients with lupus. In some cases, the damage to the kidneys is so severe that it leads to kidney failure.

What causes lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells and tissues.

It is considered that lupus is a multifactorial disorder. The expression “multifactorial inheritance” means that the problem can be caused by “many factors”. The factors are both genetic and environmental, where a combination of the genes of both parents, added to unknown environmental factors, produces the trait or disorder.

With regard to multifactorial traits, often one of the sexes (male or female) is affected more frequently than the other. Multifactorial features reappear within a family because they are partly determined by genes.

A group of genes located on chromosome 6 encodes HLA antigens (human leukocyte antigens) that play an important role in susceptibility and resistance to disease. Specific HLA antigens are involved in the development of many common disorders, many of them autoimmune that are inherited as multifactorial traits.

When a person has a specific type of HLA antigen that is associated with the disease, they may have a genetic susceptibility and propensity to develop the disease. The HLA antigens that are associated with lupus are called DR2 and DR3. It is important to understand that a person who does not have these antigens can also develop lupus, therefore the determinations of HLA antigens are not diagnostic or precise for the prediction of this disease.

What is the immune system?

The function of the immune system is to keep infectious microorganisms such as certain bacteria, viruses and fungi, out of the body, and destroy any infectious microorganism that succeeds in invading it. This system is formed by a complex and vital network of cells and organs that protect the body from infections.

When the immune system does not work properly, many diseases can arise. Allergies and hypersensitivity to certain substances are considered disorders of the immune system. In addition, the immune system plays an important role in the process of rejection of transplanted tissues or organs. Other examples of immune disorders include the following:

Autoimmune diseases, such as juvenile diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and anemia.

Immunodeficiency diseases, such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID).

Which are the lupus signs?

The symptoms of lupus are usually chronic and there are usually relapses. The following are the most common symptoms of lupus. However, each person can experience them in a different way. Symptoms may include:

  • Malar eruption – butterfly-shaped rash that usually appears on the bridge of the nose and on the cheeks.
  • Discoid eruption – raised rash that appears on the head, arms, chest or back.
  • Fever.
  • Inflammation of the joints.
  • Painful joints
  • Sensitivity to sunlight.
  • Hair loss.
  • Sores in the mouth.
  • Fluid accumulated around the heart, lungs or other organs.
  • Renal problems.
  • Decrease in the number of white blood cells or platelets.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon – a disorder in which spasms occur in the blood vessels of the fingers and toes triggered by factors such as cold, stress or illness.
  • Weightloss.
  • Nervous or cerebral dysfunction.
  • Anemia.
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lack of energy
  • Inflamed glands

The symptoms of lupus may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor to obtain a diagnosis.

How is lupus diagnosed?

It is difficult to diagnose lupus because of the vagueness of the symptoms that each person may have. There is not a single test that can diagnose lupus. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor usually relies on the clinical history, on the symptoms that the patient expresses, and on a medical examination that may include the following:

  • Blood tests (to detect certain antibodies that appear in most people with lupus).
  • Blood and urine tests (to evaluate kidney function).
  • Complement test (to measure the level of the complement, a group of proteins in the blood that contribute to the destruction of foreign substances to the body, low levels of complement in the blood are usually associated with lupus).
  • X-rays Diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to obtain images of internal tissues, bones, and organs on a plate.
  • Globular sedimentation rate (or ESR). Measuring the speed with which red blood cells fall to the bottom of a test tube. When there are swelling and inflammation, the blood proteins clump together and weigh more than normal. That’s why they fall and settle faster in the bottom of the test tube during the measurement. Generally, the faster blood cells fall, the more severe the inflammation.
  • C reactive protein (CRP, for its acronym in English). A protein that increases when there is inflammation in the body. Although the rate of globular sedimentation (ESR) and CRP reflect similar degrees of inflammation, sometimes one will be elevated when the other is not. This test can be repeated to monitor your response to medications.

In addition, the American College of created a set of criteria to help doctors diagnose lupus. The person must have four of the 11 specific criteria for being diagnosed with lupus. It is important to remember that the fact of having some of the following symptoms does not mean that the diagnosis corresponds to that of lupus. The criteria include the following:

  • Malar eruption – butterfly-shaped rash that usually appears on the bridge of the nose and on the cheeks.
  • Discoid eruption – raised rash that appears on the head, arms, chest or back.
  • Sensitivity to sunlight.
  • Sores in the mouth.
  • Inflammation of the joints.
  • Commitment of the heart or lungs.
  • Renal problems.
  • Seizures or other neurological problems.
  • Positive blood tests.
  • Changes in the normal values ​​of blood tests.

Treatment for lupus

There is no cure for lupus. The specific treatment for lupus will be determined by your doctor based on the following:

  • Your age, general health and medical history.
  • The severity of the disease.
  • Your tolerance to certain medications, procedures and therapies.
  • Your expectatives for sicknes evolution.
  • The affected organs.
  • Your opinion or preference.

If the symptoms of lupus are mild, treatment may not be necessary, taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for joint pain may be enough. Other treatments may include:

  • Hydroxychloroquine, quinacrine, chloroquine, or a combination of these medications.
  • Corticosteroids to control inflammation.
  • Immunosuppressive drugs (to eliminate the response of the body’s autoimmune system).
  • Monoclonal antibodies, such as belimumab and rituximab, for some patients, depending on the activity of the disease and the results of certain blood tests. Patients respond deferent to these treatments and are carefully selected by their doctors.
  • Use abundant sunscreen, spend less time in open spaces between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm and wear hats and long sleeves when outdoors because one-third of people with lupus tend to develop a rash at night. be exposed to the sun
  • Rest, including at least eight to 10 hours of sleep during the night, naps and breaks during the day.
  • Reduction of stress
  • Well balanced diet.
  • Immediate treatment of infections.

Children with lupus should not receive live virus vaccines, including vaccines for chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and oral polio vaccine. Ask your child’s doctor about all vaccines.

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