What Causes Lupus

Cause of Lupus, Main Blog

What Causes Lupus?

What is lupus?

Before we dive into what causes lupus, lets define the disease.

There are four types of lupus:

  1. Discoid lupus erythematosus- This type affects the skin and is also known as cutaneous lupus.
  2. Drug-induced lupus erythematosus- Drug-induced lupus can occur as a side effect of some drugs, such as beta blockers, which are commonly used to treat heart disease and hypertension.
  3. Neonatal lupus erythematosus- This is a rare form of lupus in newborn babies, whose mothers have lupus, and can cause problems at birth or in rare cases, a serious heart defect.
  4. Systemic lupus erythematosus- Systemic lupus causes inflammation in multiple organs and body systems.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that, for unknown reasons, causes the immune system to attack the body’s own tissues and organs, causing widespread infections and inflammation. Symptoms of lupus can include extreme fatigue, rashes, hair loss, cognitive dysfunction ( brain fog), severe muscle and joint pain, and ulcers in the mouth or nose, just to name a few. If left untreated or undiagnosed, lupus can lead to organ damage and failure and is potentially fatal. Lupus is one of America’s least recognized major diseases. While lupus is widespread, awareness and accurate knowledge lags decades behind many other illnesses. In this blog, we will clarify what researchers believe may be some of the factors that could cause this devastating disease.

Who gets lupus?

Researchers are studying two major questions: Who gets lupus and why?  At least 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus, or approximately 1 in 185 people.  It is extremely difficult to estimate how many people in the United States have the disease, because its symptoms vary widely and its onset is often hard to pinpoint. These factors make diagnosing lupus extremely difficult. People are often diagnosed with other “overlap” diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other connective tissue disorders before receiving a lupus diagnosis. According to one recent Michigan study, lupus may be twice as common as previous estimates suggested.

Here are some things we do know about lupus:

What causes lupus?

What Causes LupusThis is a question that, unfortunately is not easily answered.   First of all, it is important to know that lupus is not contagious. Secondly, it is a fact that even medical professionals and researchers cannot say for certain what causes lupus. Most of those in medical and research professions will agree that several factors might determine an individual’s likelihood of developing lupus. Some of these factors are listed below:

 

How can clinical research trials help?

what causes lupusResearchers are working hard to find out what causes lupus and they have learned much about the disease in recent years. A number of new medications that may be effective in the treatment of this devastating disease have been discovered through research, and they are now being tested in clinical trials. As frustrating as it may be to not understand, with certainty, the cause of lupus, it is vitally important for those suffering with this disease to receive proper care and treatment. And we know that this can be a daunting task. Coping with a chronic disease, and having no understanding of the root cause, can leave you feeling both frustrated and powerless. One way to gain some control, or feel effective, could be to participate in a clinical trial. A few of the benefits of participation in a trial may be:

For information about current lupus clinical trials in your area, visit Alliance for Lupus Research or find other trials here: www.clinicaltrials.gov. Be sure to discuss participation in any clinical trial with your physician to help determine the pros and cons for your specific medical situation.

Sources: lupusresearch.org , webmd, medicinenet.com, medscape.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article by : Karrie Sundbom

Karrie is the Digital Marketing Manager at Molly's Fund and responsible for innovating content for all of Molly's Funds online communications, creating memes and graphics, writing the MFFL Newsletter and main lupus blogs, as well as developing and managing the content for all of our social media platforms. Connect with Karrie on LinkedIn and Google+ .
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