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Systemic Lupus Erthematous

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There is an estimated 1.5 million Americans that have and live with Lupus and more than 16,000 new cases are reported across the country each year (LUPUS Foundation of America; 2011). Lupus is an autoimmune disease that is chronic and can cause damage to any part of the body. The body’s immune system produces proteins referred to as antibodies. These antibodies help to provide protection for the body from invaders. Our immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and our body’s healthy tissues; therefore autoantibodies attack and ultimately destroy healthy tissues, which is known as autoimmune or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) (LUPUS Foundation of America; 2011). Inflammation, pain, and damage to other various parts of the body are due to these autoantibodies.

The causes of SLE are genes, environment, and genetic factors. Even though researchers and scientists are unsure of just how genetic factors may alter or affect the immune system; researchers estimate that 20 - 100 different genetic factors may make a person susceptible to SLE (The New York Times; 2011). Environmental triggers can set off a flare of this disease. Environmental triggers can be ultraviolet rays from either the sun and/or fluorescent light bulbs, sulfa drugs that causes more sensitivity to the sun, penicillin and other antibiotic drugs, an infection, a cold and/or a viral illness, exhaustion, an injury, emotional stress and anything that causes stress to the body (LUPUS Foundation of America; 2011). Estrogen is a hormone that is produce by both females and males. Due to the fact that females do produce more Estrogen then men, women are more likely to develop Lupus. This is especially true during the times when Estrogen is at its highest levels during pregnancy or before menstrual periods. This does indicate that Estrogen may help regulate the severity levels of Lupus, but it does not necessarily say that hormones are the exact cause of Lupus. Risk factors also have a weight on if someone is affected by SLE or not. The risk factors include sex, age, race, and family history. If you are a woman you are more likely to develop Lupus than a man. There are more than 90 percent of people with Lupus are women. Symptoms and diagnoses are more likely to occur between the ages 15 and 44. African Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans and Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are more likely to get Lupus than Caucasian. These races also have a higher chance of developing symptoms at an earlier age as well experiencing a more severity of the disease (LUPUS Foundation of America; 2011). A family history of Lupus causes a 5 to 13 percent for a person to develop this disease.
Due to how Systemic Lupus Erythematosus affects so many different organs symptoms may develop a range that is wide. The most common symptoms which can be the same for females or males are:

Do the fact that these symptoms can appear the same in other illnesses, Lupus has been nicknamed “The Great Imitator” (LUPUS Foundation of America; 2011). Systemic Lupus Erythematosus has great effects on the other systems of the body. SLE can affect the function or functions of the systems of the Cardiopulmonary, Gastrointestinal, Musculoskeletal, Nervous, Renal/Kidney, and Skin,
The Cardiopulmonary System is affected by means of the Heart. Lupus can cause Pericarditis, Myocarditis, Endocarditis, and Coronary Artery Disease. Blood is part of the Cardiopulmonary System and problems with the red and white blood cells and the platelets because a person has Lupus. Problems that can develop in the Blood are: Anemia, Leukopenia and Neutropenia, Thrombocytopenia, and Thrombosis. Vasculitis is the inflammation of the walls of a blood vessel. Inflammation in a small blood vessel, like a capillary, can cause the blood vessel to break and then bleed inside the tissue.
The Lung and Pulmonary System is affected by Lupus by causing Pleuritis, Pneumonitis, Chronic Diffuse Interstitial Lung Disease, and Pulmonary Emboli (LUPUS Foundation of America; 2011).
The Gastrointestinal System is the pathway for the body to take in, process, and disposing of everything that is ingested. Having Lupus can lead to problems with the GI Tract and its surrounding organs such as the liver, pancreas, bile ducts, and the Gallbladder. Lupus can lead to the development of problems that are related to the GI Tract such as Esophageal Disorders in Lupus, digestive difficulties, Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease, Peritonitis and Ascites, Pancreatitis, liver complications, and Peptic Ulcers (LUPUS Foundation of America; 2011).
Lupus affects the Musculoskeletal System by possibly bringing inflammation, Lupus Arthritis, Lupus Myositis, Drug-induced Muscle Weakness, Tendonitis and Bursitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Osteoporosis, and Avascular Necrosis of the Bone (LUPUS Foundation of America; 2011).
The Nervous System is affected by causing problems in the Peripheral Nervous System and Autonomic Nervous System which can lead to the development of Raynaud’s phenomenon, Cognitive Dysfunction, and Lupus Headache. Having Lupus can lead to Lupus Nephritis and infections of the Urinary Tract that are involved with the Renal/Kidney system.
Developing or having Systemic Lupus Erythematosus can lead to the development of skin problems like Subacute Cutaneous Lesions, Chronic Cutaneous Lupus (Discoid Lupus), Acute Cutaneous Lupus, Calcinosis, Cutaneous Vasculitis Lesions, hair loss, Livedo Reticularis and Palmar Erythema, Mucosal Ulcerations, and Petechiae (LUPUS Foundation of America; 2011). All in all, especially to the fact the Lupus has acquired the nickname of “The Great Imitator”; Lupus is to be taken very seriously. If you are experiencing any symptoms of Lupus or you might be worrying that it could possibly be Lupus, it is better to get checked find out as early as possible then finding out when it is too late.

Family Doctor; 2010 American Academy of Family Physicians retrieved from on November 5, 2011 LUPUS Foundation of America; 2011 LUPUS Foundation of America retrieved from on November 5, 2011

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