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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
      Category : Health Centers > Immune System

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Alternate Names : Lupus

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Systemic lupus erythematosus, OR SLE, is an autoimmune disorder that affects many parts of the body. An autoimmune disorder is a condition in which the body creates antibodies against its own tissues.

What is going on in the body?

A person with SLE produces antibodies against many of his or her own tissues. This autoimmune reaction can damage many parts of the body. These include:

  • brain and nervous system
  • digestive system
  • eyes
  • heart
  • joints and muscles
  • kidney
  • lung
  • skin
  • What are the causes and risks of the disease?

    The exact cause of systemic lupus erythematosus is unknown. It is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. SLE tends to run in families.

    New research findings suggest that autoimmune disorders may be triggered by a transfer of cells between the fetus and the mother during pregnancy. The study involved women with scleroderma, an autoimmune disorder involving the skin. These women have more fetal cells in their blood decades after a pregnancy than women who don't have scleroderma. While further research is needed to substantiate these findings, the study does offer an explanation for the much higher incidence of autoimmune disorders in women than in men.

    Certain medications have been known to cause systemic lupus erythematosus. These include procainamide, hydralazine, isoniazid, and chlorpromazine. Events that may trigger the disease include infection, stress, exposure to toxins, and sunlight.

    Women account for 80% to 90% of cases of SLE. It is more common in black women than in white women. SLE is also more common in Asian, Hispanic, and Native American women.


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    Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Minot Cleveland, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 08/06/01

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