What is Lupus Erythematosus?

Treatment for lupus may depend on which symptoms are present, as well as the severity of the condition. The exact cause of lupus is not fully understood, although scientists and doctors believe certain factors may put individuals at greater risk of developing lupus.

Cause and Risk Factors for Lupus

As mentioned, the cause of lupus remains unknown. Some believe people are born with a predisposition to lupus and the cause may be genetic. Certain risk factors, however, are thought to increase a person's risk of developing lupus. Smoking may put individuals at greater risk of lupus, as well as exposure to certain chemicals. Those who are exposed to silica or mercury are thought to be at greater risk of lupus. Exposure to the sun may trigger lupus flare ups, while certain infections such as hepatitis C, cytomegalovirus and parvovirus may trigger lupus. Taking certain medications for a period of several years may lead to drug-induced lupus. However, not everybody who takes these medications will develop lupus. The symptoms may go away once the patient stops taking the medication. Antipsychotic chlorpromazine, high blood pressure medications (hydralazine), tuberculosis medication and certain heart medications may lead to drug-induced lupus in some cases. Talk to your doctor for more information about drug-induced lupus. In some cases, lupus may be passed from the mother to the child.

Possible Symptoms of Lupus

Lupus may cause different symptoms for different people. They may also depend on which organs are affected by lupus. Some patients experience fatigue, fever, mouth sores, hair loss and weight loss or gain. Patients may experience a butterfly-shaped rash on the face, usually on the cheeks and nose. Inflammation from lupus may lead to swelling, joint pain and stiffness. Chest pain and shortness of breath may also be symptoms associated with lupus. Possible emotional symptoms associated with lupus include anxiety, depression and memory loss. As many of these symptoms may be caused by other conditions or diseases, patients who notice these symptoms should consult a licensed physician for diagnosis.

Treating Lupus

Most cases of lupus involve treatment using prescription medication. Corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and antimalarial drugs are commonly used to treat mild cases of lupus. Severe cases may require high-dose corticosteroids or immunosuppresants. Topical corticosteroids may be used to treat rashes associated with lupus. Patients with kidney problems associated with lupus may be recommended to undergo a kidney transplant or dialysis. For reasons that are not yet understood, lupus may be less severe following kidney transplant or during dialysis. To learn more about lupus erythematosus or the symptoms and treatments associated with it, consult a licensed physician. SkinCareGuide.com also has further information regarding lupus.

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