Despite the fact that the last decades brought a significant decrease of the mortality rate of lupus, this disease is in its nature a real menace for the patient’s life. This auto immune, chronic disorder severely affects the people that have it. From the about 2 millions Americans with lupus, 90 % are women aging between 18 and 30. The most predisposed to systemic lupus erythematosus seem to be Hispanic, Asian and black American women and the symptoms as well as the risks are much more severe in their cases. This type of lupus is often encountered in old people, small children and even babies.
In absence of a certitude regarding the causes of SLE, modern medicine analyzed the most important categories of factors related to the apparition of lupus: genetic factors, hormonal factors (estrogen is considered to play a role in the apparition of the disease) and the environmental factors (long – term use of antibiotics).
SLE is generated by the abnormal actions of the immune system and may cause temporary or permanent damages to many body areas including internal organs, such as the lungs, the cardiovascular system, the skin, the kidneys, the gastrointestinal tract, the nervous system and the brain and the musculoskeletal system. The auto immune character of the disease is given by the fact that the antibodies produced by the immune system damage both healthy cells and the DNA.
Because SLE often triggers heart, kidney or lung disorders, the treatment for every such consequence should be included in that for lupus. In the treatment for SLE, the attention is directed towards minimizing the casualties generated by the immune system’s malfunction which makes the prescription of immunosuppressive medicines very frequent; despite their side effects, corticosteroids are commonly used to control systemic lupus erythematosus. Azathioprine (imuran) and cyclophosphamide (cytoxan) are only prescribed in extreme situations because they have very dangerous side effects.
SLE is a chronic disease which explains the alternation of flares and remission periods. The difficult to predict nature of this disorder makes extremely necessary the continuous monitoring of the patients – including those in the remission phase – and repeated physical exams; the patients may be affected by the long term use immunosuppressants which makes them vulnerable to possible infections. In case you have SLE, you should be more careful and cautious than a healthy person, because your immune system is out of range and you are vulnerable to all kinds of disorders that your body is not able to fight without treatment.