Overview of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematous (lupus) is a severe autoimmune disorder. In this disease, the immune system loses the ability to differentiate between self and non-self and attacks many healthy tissues of the body. It is a relatively common autoimmune disorder and about 1.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with SLE. In about 70% of cases of lupus, the immune system primarily attacks the skin and manifests in the form of skin rash. Later, the disease becomes systemic and affect bones and muscles, heart, lungs, kidneys and blood.
Causes and Risk Factors of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
The risk factors associated with lupus include smoking, certain infections, sunlight, female hormones and deficiency of vitamin D. certain other factors like genetic predisposition, trauma, certain viruses and medicines also act as a trigger of SLE. SLE is more likely to attack women as compared to men and often appears in individuals who are between 15 to 44 years of age. There is also specification of race as SLE is more prevalent in Asians and African Americans.
Proper treatment allows an individual to lead a normal and healthy life. If left untreated, SLE worsen and can cause heart problems, kidney disorders, behavioral and mental illnesses, inflammation of lungs and clotting of blood vessels.
Signs and Symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
The symptoms of SLE vary from person to person in severity and manifestation. The common symptoms of SLE include butterfly skin rash on face, fatigue, swelling in legs, chest pain, fever, sores in mouth, loss of hair and sensitivity to sunlight. As it is a systemic disease, the symptoms mainly depends on the organ being targeted, for instance, if kidneys are damaged then severe swelling of legs and unexplained weight gain is observed, in case of heart infection, abnormal heartbeat occurs.