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 Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

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Systemic lupus erythematosus is a disease where a person's immune system attacks and injures the body's own organs and tissues. Almost every system of the body can be affected by Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. More often than not the skin is involved. There are several types of lupus. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is the most common form.

One of the common signs of lupus is a rash across the face shaped like a butterfly. And subsequently is called a butterfly rash. Other symptoms depend on the part of the body that the disease is attacking. Since Systemic Lupus Erythematosus can attack almost any part of the body the symptoms can very from heart problems to digestive problems


Some of the more common symptoms are

  • Severe fatigue
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Headaches
  • Butterfly rash across the face
  • Hair loss
  • Anemia
  • Blood-clotting problems
  • Raynaudís phenomenon (When lupus causes you fingers to turn blue when cold.

Symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus come and go. There are things that we can experience that cause the symptoms to appear. These are called triggers. Common triggers are viruses, fatigue, stress, chemicals, sunlight, and certain drugs.

In Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, some of the common antibodies that normally fight diseases are thought to be out of control. These include antinuclear antibodies and anti-DNA antibodies. Antinuclear antibodies are directed against the cell's central structure that contains genetic material (the nucleus). Anti-DNA antibodies are directed against the cell's genetic material. DNA is the chemical substance that makes up the chromosomes and genes.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus can occur in both males and females of all ages, but 90% of patients are women. The majority of these women are in their childbearing years. African Americans are more likely than Caucasians to develop Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

Occasionally, medications can cause a syndrome of symptoms very similar to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. This is called drug-induced lupus. Medications that may cause this syndrome include hydralazine (used for high blood pressure) and procainamide (used for abnormal heartbeats). Drug-induced lupus almost always disappears after the patient stops taking the medications that caused it.

More Information about Lupus

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