SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSIS (LUPUS / SLE)
Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (“SLE” or “Lupus”) is a chronic rheumatological disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue and organs leading to inflammation in many bodily systems such as joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.
The cause of SLE is unknown, however, it appears that in certain populations, a combination of genetic susceptibility factors and environmental factors act as triggers to the onset of disease. Postulated triggers include infections, drugs and medications.
SLE can be hard to diagnosis because it mimics symptoms associated with other diseases and its presentation can vary widely in diagnosed cases (heterogenous). Onset of symptoms can be rapid or indolent with varying degrees of severity at presentation. Initial presenting signs and symptoms will depend upon the organ or system(s) affected. Commonly reported symptoms include fever, joint stiffness, swelling and pain, fatigue, dry eyes and headaches. Shortness of breath, chest pain, confusion and memory loss have been observed with progressive disease. Common signs include a butterfly shaped rash that covers the cheek and bridge of the nose, skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure (photosensitivity), and fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or stress (Raynaud’s phenonmenon).
There is no cure for SLE. Treatment is designed to alleviate inflammation and symptoms in the affected organ(s) and bodily system(s)