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Lupus Information

  • The technical name for lupus is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It is an auto-immune disease in which the immune system cannot distinguish between threats (like viruses and bacteria), and healthy cells and tissue. As a result, the body produces antibodies that inflict cell damage, most commonly targeting joints, skin, kidneys and the nervous system. Lupus symptoms vary, but there are certain commonalities: fatigue, muscle and joint ache, skin rashes (particularly on the bridge of the nose), and ulcers. About nine times as many young women as young men are diagnosed with lupus...
  • Causes of Lupus (SLE)

    A mix of genes and environmental factors most likely trigger lupus, though this has not been proven, and the specific roles of these factors are not known. Likely environmental factors include ultraviolet light, viruses, and certain drugs. A single gene has not been identified as causing lupus, though scientists suspect a group of genes associated with chromosome 6.

    Treatments for Lupus (SLE)

    There are three main groups of commonly prescribed medications for lupus: (1) anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as aspirin, Aleve, Motrin, Advil etc., (2) Antimalarial drugs, which are helpful in preventing flares and treating general symptoms (Plaquenil is the most popular in this group), and (3) corticosteroids, which consist of steroid hormones and reduce inflammation. Other kinds of medication, such as immunosuppressants, may be prescribed in more severe cases of lupus.

    Lupus Resources and Support

    As the Lupus Foundation of America notes on its Web site, it is important for those coping with lupus to develop and maintain a strong support system: "Participating in a support group can provide emotional help, boost self-esteem and morale, and help develop or improve coping skills."

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