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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Article Home Bone, Muscle and Joint Disorders Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is a chronic, multifaceted, autoimmune, inflammatory disease that can affect any organ of the body characterized by acute and chronic inflammation of various tissues of the body like skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, joints, liver, and nervous system. There is multisystem micro vascular inflammation with the generation of Autoantibodies. Disease has sexual preponderance and women are the more frequent victims as compared to male sex. The disease can affect all ages but most commonly begins from 20 to 45 years of age.

 

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is a chronic, multifaceted, autoimmune, inflammatory disease that can affect any organ of the body characterized by acute and chronic inflammation of various tissues of the body like skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, joints, liver, and nervous system. There is multisystem micro vascular inflammation with the generation of Autoantibodies. Disease has sexual preponderance and women are the more frequent victims as compared to male sex. The disease can affect all ages but most commonly begins from 20 to 45 years of age.

Symptoms and Signs 

  • Butterfly skin rash
  • Fatigue
  • Malaise
  • Unexplained fever
  • Chills
  • Arthritis
  • Joint pains
  • Hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • Arthralgia
  • Myalgia
  • Malar rash
  • Photosensitivity
  • Discoid rash
  • Hypertension
  • Hematuria
  • Psychosis
  • Delirium
  • Transverse myelitis
  • Pleurisy with pleuritic chest pain
  • Peritonitis
  •  Pancreatitis
  • Mesenteric vasculitis
  •  Bowel infarction
  • Pericarditis
  • Leucopenia
  •  Lymphopenia
  •  Anemia
  • Thrombocytopenia

Causes

  • Genetic Factors – SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) generally occurs in the individuals who have the family history of the disease. Although the definite gene involved in the disease process is not yet identified, still it is believed that the disease is having some connection with hereditary.

  • Enviornmental Triggers – Enviornmental Factors lead to exacerbation of the previous disease and they also act as triggers for new disease. These include bacteria, estrogen, drugs like antidepressants, breast implants and other sex hormones and many more. Also infection with some viruses like Epstein Barr Virus may also lead to the disease.
  • SLE may be drug induced and can be caused by the drugs like phenytoin, hydralazine, quinidine and procainamide.

Diagnosis and Investigations

  • Antinuclear antibody test (ANA)
  • Complete blood count
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Complete urine examination
  • Above mentioned are the investigations which are generally performed to diagnose a case of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Treatment and Drugs

  • Corticosteroids like Prednisolone, Methylprednisolone, Dexamethasone, Hydrocortisone are the steroids which are most frequently used to treat the condition
  • NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) are used frequently for the control of inflammation like Naproxen, Suldinac, Diclofenac, Piroxicam, Ketoprofen etc.
  • Some newer Cox – 2 inhibitors like Celecoxib, Rofecoxib etc. may be of some help  
  • Methotrexate are sometimes prescribed
  • Gamma globulin are also given intravenously
  • Immunosuppressant’s like Azathiorpine and Cyclophosphamide are used in some cases
  • Some life style modifications and stress management techniques like meditation etc. are proven to be of some help to the patients