What is Systemic lupus erythematosus

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Have you heard about systemic lupus erythematosus or known as SLE? I think most of us don’t know about this disease but it is a chronic disease that could cause death. In this article I’ll share some basic information about Systemic lupus erythematosus.

What is Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

SLE is a disease that leads to long term (chronic) inflammation ( MedlinePlus ).

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
It 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. These antibodies are referred to as autoantibodies. ( Medicine Net)
SLE is most common in women and the majority develop the condition between 15-45 years.

Symptoms of Systemic lupus erythematosus

The most common symptoms of SLE are :

extreme fatigue (tiredness)
painful or swollen joints
anemia (low numbers of red blood cells or hemoglobin, or low total blood volume)
swelling (edema) in feet, legs, hands and/or around eyes
pain in chest on deep breathing (pleurisy)
butterfly-shaped rash across cheeks and nose
sensitivity to light or the sun (photosensitivity)
hair loss (alopecia)
abnormal blood clotting
fingers turning white and/or blue when cold (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
mouth or nose ulcers.

How SLE diagnosed

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has develop a classification system to help identify patients with lupus. The criteria include: malar rash, discoid rash, photosensitivity, oral ulcers, arthritis, serositis (pleuritis or pericarditis), renal disorder, neurological disorder (seizures or psychosis), hematological disorder, immunologic disorder and antinuclear antibodies. A diagnosis of lupus is made when at least four of the above criteria are present, either serially or simultaneously, during any interval of observation. (UCB

Systemic lupus erythematosus treatment

Treatment for SLE include
anti-inflammatory medications for joint pain and stiffness
steroid creams for rashes
corticosteroids of varying doses to minimize the immune response
antimalarial drugs for skin and joint problems

Unfortunately, over time, SLE can damage or cause complications in systems throughout your body. Possible complications may include blood clots, inflammation of the heart, stroke, and lung damage. SLE can have serious negative effects on your body during pregnancy, and can lead to pregnancy complications and even miscarriage. Talk with your doctor about ways to reduce the risk of complications.