Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
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Systemic lupus erythematosus: What You Need To Know

 Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), also known as lupus, is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the blood vessels as well as connective tissues found in the skin. The disease shows up as skin rash over the nose as well as cheeks with shapes of butterfly. It gets worse as the affected area is exposed to sun. The patient feels tired and experiences pains in the joints.

The disease is not a contagious disease. The right cause of the disease is not known, but there is consensus that it might be set off by hormones, sunlight, stress or any infection. Women getting affected by SLE are nine times more than men. The disease is commonly seen in the teens and the 20s.

With the recent advances in medical sciences, chances of fatalities from Systemic lupus erythematosus are becoming very rare. Like other autoimmune diseases, the cells and tissues of the body are attacked by the immune system, which results in inflammation as well as damage of the tissues. The disease can afflict any part of the body, though most often it harms the joints, lungs, liver, nervous system, heart, skin, blood vessels and kidneys.

The occurrence of the disease cannot be predicted as there could be periods of its occurrence (as flares) and remission. SLE can affect a person at any age, and is most commonly seen in women, mainly of non European descent. The disease has been found more among Afro-Caribbean and Asian people or their descent.

The different side effects that a patient may get if he or she is not undergoing any treatment for the disease include Thrombophlebitis, painless mouth ulcers, anemia, high blood pressure, pericarditis, kidney disease, hair loss, headaches, fits and pleurisy.

Cause of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

In Systemic lupus erythematosus, the immune system of the body produces its own antibodies that act against the proteins of the cell nucleus. The disease is triggered by unknown environmental factors and includes viruses. It affects people with some kind of gene combinations in the immune system.

 Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Symptoms

The symptoms of SLE are so varied that sometimes these are erroneously taken to represent other diseases. Sometimes this makes for wrong treatment of the disease or else the patient remains untreated for SLE for many years. Along with the common complaints of fever, joint pains, fatigue, malaise and myalgias, if there are other signs and symptoms, SLE can be confirmed.

 About 30 percent of the SLE patients have some symptoms with the skin while 5 percent suffer such symptoms during the course of occurrence of the disease. About 30 to 50 percent of SLE patients suffer from malar rash (or known as butterfly rash). Patients with this disease have discoid lupus which is thick, red and scaly patches seen on the skin. There are possibilities of having mouth, vaginal and nasal ulcers of the patients. There could also be lesions seen on the skin of the patient.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Treatment

There is no definite cure for Systemic lupus erythematosus. Patients should check with the doctor as early as possible. Doctors may prescribe anti- inflammatory medicines, corticosteroids and immunosuppressant to check the symptoms and keep a check on the disease. Physiotherapy is also given to relieve different joint pains. Patients of the disease should avoid coming in direct contact with sun rays.

Treatment is based on seeing the symptoms of the patient. Hence flares are prevented and their harshness and duration are checked using suitable drugs and alternative medicine. Doctors also prescribe change in lifestyles of the patient. As there are different symptoms and involvement of organ system, the treatment of SLE patients are given after finding the severity of the disease.

Doctors use disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs to prevent the flares and at the same time lessen the need of usage of steroid. As the flares appear, corticosteroids are used. Corticosteroids and immuno-suppressants which are used to modulate the immune system are used in severe cases of controlling the disease and prevent the recurrence of the symptoms. Due to the side effects, steroids are better avoided. As most of the SLE patients suffer from pain, analgesics are prescribed.


As there is no particular sign and symptom of Systemic lupus erythematosus, it is advisable to make a thorough check-up to confirm about the disease.

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