Information about Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Systemic lupus erythematosus (also called lupus or 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.
The body's immune system is a network of cells and tissues responsible for clearing the
body of invading foreign organisms, like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Antibodies are
special immune cells that recognize these foreign invaders, and begin a chain of events to
destroy them. In an autoimmune disorder like Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, a person's
antibodies begin to recognize the body's own tissues as foreign. Cells and chemicals of
the immune system damage the tissues of the body. The reaction that occurs in tissue is
called inflammation. Inflammation includes swelling, redness, increased blood flow, and
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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Arthritis can develop as a result of an infection. For example, bacteria that cause gonorrhea or Lyme disease can. Infectious arthritis can cause serious damage, but usually clears up completely with antibiotics. Scleroderma is a systemic disease that involves the skin, but may include problems with blood vessels, joints, and internal organs. Fibromyalgia syndrome is soft-tissue rheumatism that doesn't lead to joint deformity, but affects an estimated 5 million Americans, mostly women. The approximate number of cases in the United States of some common forms of arthritis.
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Most of the information in the site is compiled by editors from information provided by the National Institutes of Health. We are in the process of updating our pages. In the past we have not made reference to the source for information provide by our editors. In the next few weeks we hope to have all our pages marked as to the source.
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