Saturday, 13 January 2018

Major Causes Of Lupus Disease, Triggers & Health Risks

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Lupus is an autoimmune disease characterized by acute and chronic inflammation of various tissues of the body. Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when the body's tissues are attacked by its own immune system. The immune system is a complex system within the body that is designed to fight infectious agents, such as bacteria and other foreign microbes. One of the ways that the immune system fights infections is by producing antibodies that bind to the microbes. People with lupus produce abnormal antibodies in their blood that target tissues within their own body rather than foreign infectious agents.

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These antibodies are referred to as auto antibodies. Because the antibodies and accompanying cells of inflammation can affect tissues anywhere in the body, lupus has the potential to affect a variety of areas. Sometimes lupus can cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs  , kidneys, joints, and/or nervous system. When only the skin is involved by rash , the condition is called lupus dermatitis or cutaneous lupus erythematosus.

Complications
Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many areas of your body, including your:

  1. Kidneys : Lupus can cause serious kidney damage, and kidney failure is one of the leading causes of death among people with lupus.
  2. Brain and central nervous system : If your brain is affected by lupus, you may experience headaches, dizziness, behavior changes, vision problems, and even strokes or seizures. Many people with lupus experience memory problems and may have difficulty expressing their thoughts.
  3. Blood and blood vessels : Lupus may lead to blood problems, including anemia and increased risk of bleeding or blood clotting. It can also cause inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis).
  4. Lungs : Having lupus increases your chances of developing an inflammation of the chest cavity lining (pleurisy), which can make breathing painful. Bleeding into lungs and pneumonia also are possible.
  5. Heart : Lupus can cause inflammation of your heart muscle, your arteries or heart membrane (pericarditis). The risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks increases greatly as well.
  6. Pregnancy complications : Women with lupus have an increased risk of miscarriage. Lupus increases the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia) and preterm birth. To reduce the risk of these complications, doctors often recommend delaying pregnancy until your disease has been under control for at least six months.
  7. Infection : People with lupus are more vulnerable to infection because both the disease and its treatments can weaken the immune system.

Causes Of Lupus Disease
The exact cause of lupus is unknown . Some experts indicate that lupus develops in response to a combination of factors from both inside and outside of the human body including hormones, genetics, the environment and many others -

Genetics
No specific gene or group of genes has been proven to cause lupus . Lupus is more prevalent among some families and certain genes have been identified as contributing to the development of lupus. However, these genetic associations alone are not conclusive for causing the disease, as highlighted by twins where only one of the twins develops lupus. Identical twins may be raised in the exact same way, same environment and feature the same inherited attributes, but only one of them may develop lupus. There is a 25% chance that an identical twin could develop the disease and a 2-3% chance for fraternal twins. The risk for development of lupus in siblings of individuals with the disease is about 20 times higher than that of the general population. Although there are occurrences of lupus developing in people with no family history of the disease, there are likely to be other autoimmune diseases such as thyroiditis, hemolytic anemia and idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura in some family members. Ethnic groups such as people of African, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Island descent have a greater risk of developing lupus, which may be related to genes they have in common.

Medications
Lupus can be triggered by certain types of blood pressure medications, anti-seizure medications and antibiotics. People who have drug-induced lupus usually get better when they stop taking the medication. Rarely, symptoms may persist even after the drug is stopped.

Hormones
Hormones are chemical substances produced in the body that control and regulate the activity of certain cells or organs. As 9 in every 10 occurrences of lupus are in females , researchers have looked at the possible relationship between estrogen and lupus. Although both men and women produce estrogen, the production of the hormone is greater in women. Studies have shown that women have lupus symptom flare-ups just before menstrual periods and during pregnancy when estrogen production is higher. Estrogen is known to be an "immunoenhancing" hormone, which means that women have stronger immune systems than men. For this reason, the incidence of autoimmune diseases is generally higher in women than in men.

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Risk factors
Factors that may increase your risk of lupus include:
◾Your sex : Lupus is more common in women.
◾Age : Although lupus affects people of all ages, it's most often diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 45.
◾Race : Lupus is more common in African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans.
◾Infections : Having an infection can initiate lupus or cause a relapse in some people.

Genetic factors increase the tendency of developing autoimmune diseases, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus,
rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune thyroid disorders are more common among relatives of people with lupus than the general population. Moreover, it is possible to have more than one autoimmune disease in the same individual. Therefore, "overlap" syndromes of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis , or lupus and scleroderma , etc., can occur. Some scientists believe that the immune system in lupus is more easily stimulated by external factors like viruses or ultraviolet light. Sometimes, symptoms of lupus can be precipitated or aggravated by only a brief period of sun exposure. It also is known that some women with systemic lupus erythematosus can experience worsening of their symptoms prior to their menstrual periods.


This phenomenon, together with the female predominance of systemic lupus erythematosus, suggests that female hormones play an important role in the expression of SLE. This hormonal relationship is an active area of ongoing study by scientists.



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Author: Richard Smith