Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
There isn’t a more difficult disease to diagnose, understand, or treat than Systemic Lupus Erythematosus This may be because lupus is not only one disease but many diseases grouped under one heading. It may also be because the disease can present itself to both physicians and patients in mysterious ways; throwing them off track, leading them to think of other more common illnesses, and avoiding standard diagnostic methods. Whatever the reason may be lupus is complex and problematic. Lupus can be a very difficult to diagnose.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (Lupus) is a chronic disorder of the immune system known as an autoimmune disease (auto- meaning self) The immune system, which normally protects the body from foreign invaders does not work as it should, and turns against itself and attacks it. A healthy immune system produces proteins called antibodies and specific cells called B-lymphocytes that help fight and destroy viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances that invade the body. (webmd) In an autoimmune disorder, such as Lupus. The immune system loses its ability to tell the difference between foreign substances (antigens) and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then makes antibodies directed against "itself." These antibodies, called "auto-antibodies" react with the "self" antigens to form immune complexes. The immune complexes build up in the tissues and cause inflammation. (lupus international) The inflammation presents itself as heat, pain, swelling and redness, in various parts of the body including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood cells, and brain to name a few. SLE is a variable disease that doesn’t take any specific course; therefore, its unpredictability makes it even more devastating. (lupus international) No two individuals will encounter similar side effects or seriousness level. As S.L.E advances there will be times of very subtle to no symptoms at all called remission or an exacerbation of symptoms called flares.(lupus international)
Lupus Foundation of America market research data show that between 1.4 and 2 MILLION people reported to have been diagnosed with Lupus.
The exact cause of lupus is unclear, although scientists are investigating many different possibilities. The disease can be triggered by certain environmental factors, such as exposure to sunlight, stress and smoking. Pregnancy is also a common trigger for the condition among women. Since lupus is most common among women during childbearing years, researchers speculate that the female hormone estrogen may play a role in disease development. (lupus foundation)
Although the exact cause of lupus remains a mystery, Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disorders are more common among relatives of patients with lupus than the general population. Genes do play a role in the predisposition to the development of lupus. There are dozens of known genetic variants...