Risk Factors Associated With Lupus
Because of its wide variety of symptoms, lupus is a disease that is hard to diagnose. Symptoms may flare up periodically, and then disappear for no apparent reason. Those with lupus may experience complaints from family and friends about their seemingly irregular and vague complains. It's important to seek medical attention immediately if you notice recurring symptoms that cannot be attributed to illness or lifestyle. An accurate diagnosis will go a long way in treating lupus.
What Is Lupus?
Before we talk about risk factors, let's look at an overview of lupus. Systemic lupus erythematosus, also called SLE or lupus, is an autoimmune disease. A healthy immune system works in the body by attacking foreign cells that may make us sick. When we have an autoimmune disease the immune system attacks the body's own cells and tissues, damaging the good tissues. As with most autoimmune diseases, symptoms of lupus can vary widely from person to person.
Symptoms of Lupus
There are many symptoms of lupus. These may include fatigue, fever, joint and muscle pain or arthritis, weight loss or gain, rash, especially a butterfly rash over the nose and cheeks, heart problems, hair loss and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
There are many different risk factors of lupus. Some common factors include:
- Being Female - Women are more likely than men to have lupus.
- Between the ages of 15 and 45 - Hormones may have a role in this. Most women develop lupus before menopause, and during pregnancy.
- Genetics - Family history plays a large role.
- Race - Asian and African-Americans are more likely to have lupus.
- Sunlight - Sunlight may trigger an outbreak of lupus in susceptible people, and can trigger flares in those with lupus.
- Prescription Medications - Long term use of some prescription medications has been known to trigger lupus.
- The Epstein-Barr Virus - Scientists aren't sure why, but those who"ve had the common Epstein- Barr virus are more likely to develop lupus.
- Chemical Exposure - Exposure to chemicals such as mercury or silica may increase the risk of developing lupus.
Acknowledging and managing signs and symptoms of lupus will dramatically aid doctors and patients during treatment. Proper management of the disease is the key to controlling symptoms and flares.