Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that can affect different organs and systems in the body. Although the exact cause of the disease is still unknown, it is believed that a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors can trigger its onset. SLE predominantly affects young women, with a female-male ratio of 6-10:1, and is more common among Afro-Caribbean and Asian populations.
The symptoms of SLE can vary from patient to patient and can be non-specific, making diagnosis challenging. The disease can affect the skin and joints, causing inflammation and rashes, and can progress to affect blood cells, lungs, kidneys, heart, and nervous system. The severity of the disease can vary, with three levels of severity identified based on the affected organs or systems. With appropriate immunosuppressant drugs, symptoms can be managed and brought under control.
The history of SLE dates back to Hippocrates, who spoke of a disease that caused skin ulcers, calling it “herpes esthiomenos”. The term lupus, meaning wolf in Latin, was used to describe the disease due to the butterfly-shaped rash that appears on the face of many patients with SLE. The disease was treated with quinine and salicylic acid in the 19th century, and corticosteroid drugs were used to manage the disease in the 20th century.
The onset of SLE can occur suddenly or gradually, with symptoms ranging from asthenia, joint pain, and skin rashes to more severe symptoms affecting blood cells, lungs, kidneys, heart, and nervous system. The disease can also cause enlarged lymph nodes, spleen, liver, and salivary glands, gastrointestinal disturbances, vasculitis, miscarriage, and preeclampsia in pregnant women.
There is no real cause for the onset of SLE, but genetic-hereditary factors, hormonal factors, and environmental factors are believed to be predisposing factors. To diagnose SLE, at least 4 of 11 diagnostic criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology must be met, including butterfly-shaped red rash on the face, characteristic rashes of discoid lupus, ulcers inside the mouth or nose, arthritis involving at least two joints, photosensitivity, haematological disorders, renal involvement, presence of antinuclear antibodies, presence of anti-ds DNA or anti-Sm or antiphospholipid antibodies, or nervous system involvement.
In conclusion, systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that can affect different organs and systems in the body, with a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors believed to trigger its onset. The symptoms of SLE can vary from patient to patient, making diagnosis challenging, and appropriate immunosuppressant drugs can manage and bring symptoms under control. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are crucial to prevent the disease from progressing and causing severe complications.
- Autoimmune disease
- Lupus rash
- Lupus nephritis
- Immunosuppressant therapy
- Lupus flare-ups
News Source : Cristiano Antonino
Source Link :Systemic lupus erythematosus: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment/