Lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that will manifest through skin rashes, lesions and inflammation of body tissues. The clear causes of lupus erythematosus are not known, but the disease may be triggered by extended sun exposure or viruses.
Darker skinned women between the ages of 20 and 50 are more likely to develop lupus erythematosus. There are also certain medications that cause lupus erythematosus. The disease may stagnate, but it may also develop and become systemic, affecting internal organs.
Causes of Lupus Erythematosus
Lupus erythematosus is more common in women of African American descent. However, the real causes of lupus erythematosus are not known. The disease may be inherited, or caused by the sun, viruses or certain drugs.
A lot of autoimmune diseases are caused by inherited genes; consequently, lupus erythematosus is also believed to have a genetic cause. Research has shown that patients with lupus erythematosus may have relatives suffering from lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune diseases.
It is believed that the presence of female hormones may also influence the occurrence of lupus.
Drugs that Contribute to the Development of Lupus
There are a few drugs that have been reported to trigger the occurrence of lupus. However, these drugs may not cause lupus erythematosus in patients that don’t have a genetic predisposition.
The drugs that have been reported to cause lupus erythematosus include:
- Hydralazine, a medication used for hypertension or high blood pressure
- Quinidine employed for heart problems
- Procainamide, used to regularize heart rhythm
- Phenytoin, employed in patient with epilepsy
- Isoniazid (also known as Nydrazid or Laniazid) helpful in patients with tuberculosis
- Penicillamine, indicated in cases of rheumatoid arthritis
All these drugs are immune system stimulants that will cause a production of antibodies. When these antibodies are produced in excess, lupus erythematosus occurs. The patients with drug induced lupus are less common (less than 10% of all lupus erythematosus patients). Typically, the condition resolves itself after the discontinuation of the medications.
Lupus Erythematosus Development
Patients with lupus erythematosus will produce an excess amount of antibodies, which will cause tissue inflammation. These antibodies may affect any part of the body. Initially, lupus erythematosus will only manifest through skin rashes and lesions. The disease may be managed and it may never develop further, but it may also become systemic (SLE) and the antibodies may attack the heart, the lungs, kidneys, joints and the nervous system.
Most often, the kidneys will be affected; this will result in more frequent urination and increased thirst. The organs that are affected by lupus erythematosus should be treated, otherwise the disease may be fatal.
Preventing Lupus Erythematosus Development
Lupus erythematosus may not always be prevented, as it doesn’t have known causes. However, the administration of lupus causing drugs should be avoided.
Exposure to sun may trigger the development of the disease. The development of the disease may be prevented through constant medication with corticosteroids. Hydroxicloroquine and chloroquine are also efficient in preventing the advancement of lupus erythematosus.