Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus, is an autoimmune condition which is represented by hyperactivity of the immune system, which attacks healthy tissues in various parts of the body. Unfortunately, the stimulator of the disease is still unknown and it is rather difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms are imprecise as well. Moreover, there no cure for lupus, but a convenient treatment and lifestyle change may manage the symptoms, which include:
Doctors claim that genetics, hormones, and environment are involved in the development of lupus. The main triggers of the disease are sunlight that constantly disturbs the body cells or is likely to worsen the symptoms; some infections, such as cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr, and herpes zoster virus; certain medications, which include hydralazine, isoniazid, procainamide, and quinidine; and stressful events in life may cause the display or aggravation of the condition.
Lupus is represented by specific gene mutation the DNA. It means that if someone from your family suffered from lupus, there is a risk of obtaining the disease in the future. The body containing the mutation is more likely to respond to the triggers, anyways there is no 100% proof that you will get the disease.
Diagnosis is difficult and time consuming. Suspected cases must be confirmed by a series of tests. The most famous of these is the ANA (antinuclear factor), which is present in about 99% of cases of Lupus, but also up to 30% of normal persons. Some antibodies are highly specific for lupus (anti-SM, double-stranded anti-DNA, anti-ribosomal P) and, if present in significant concentrations, lupus is virtually certain. As this does not happen very often (10-50% of cases), physicians have to deal with a puzzle of symptoms and tests to make the diagnosis.
Despite being a complex disease, genetic markers were identified during present Lupus Erythematosus. Variations on the X chromosome could explain the higher frequency of the disease in women. Currently more than 50 genetic alterations have been identified as predisposing lupus. Genome-wide genetic association studies (GWAS) have proven that preventive medicine can improve and advance the diagnosis of systemic diseases such as lupus, improving the quality of life and reducing the consequences that may be infringed by the progression of symptoms.
The development of lupus is also variable. Most progress with periods of worsening and then some improvement, and a part may go into remission. Unfortunately in rare cases, lupus can be aggressive and even fatal, even despite treatment. What drugs are used, and how many are a decision that should be taken into consideration by an experienced rheumatologist, based on onsets and severity of each patient.
It is highly recommended to test your risks of obtaining lupus, especially if it runs in your family. As symptoms are not clear and the cure is still unknown, the knowledge about your likelihood of getting the condition beforehand may help you cut the risks or maybe completely prevent its development by modifying your lifestyle with simple healthy habits.