The word Lupus is derived from the Latin word for “wolf”. The name originated in the 13th century when it was thought the rash appeared like a wolf’s bite.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), or simply known as lupus, is an autoimmune condition whereby the immune system erroneously attacks many parts of the body’s healthy tissue. Symptoms range between mild to severe. Common symptoms include fever, mouth ulcers, painful and swollen joints, chest pain, inflamed lymph nodes, tiredness, and red rashes in mainly the facial areas. The condition goes through periods of “flares”, followed by periods of remissions.
The cause of SLE is not clear though some scientists attribute it to genetics factors accompanied with certain environmental exposures such as sunlight or smoking. Other factors include female sex hormones, vitamin D deficiency, and certain infections. The mechanism involves an immune response by autoantibodies against a person’s own tissues.
There are a number of other kinds of lupus erythematosus including discoid lupus erythematosus, neonatal lupus, and subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus.
As of yet, there is no cure for SLE, but rather an effective treatment which could include Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, hydroxychloroquine, and methotrexate. SLE increases the risk of cardiovascular disease with this being the most common cause of death, but with modern treatments, about 80% of those affected survive more than 15 years.
Rate of SLE varies between countries from 20 to 70 per 100,000. Women of childbearing age are affected about nine times more often than men.
Statistical research has shown this condition being most commonly between the ages of 15 and 45, and people of African, and Chinese descent have higher risk exposure than white people.
Diagnosed early, it would be possible to undertake the necessary steps to prevent major health complications.
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