Lupus erythematosus: what is this disease, causes, symptoms, life expectancy, photos

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a severe connective tissue disorder which has an autoimmune nature. Suffer from SLE predominantly women, and the disease manifests them still in their Teens. The life expectancy of such patients largely depends on timely diagnosis and initiation of treatment.

What is this disease?

SLE belongs to the group of systemic autoimmune connective tissue diseases that simultaneously affects many organs, which causes a severe condition of the patients. The main mechanism of developing such diseases is an abnormal immune response to its own cells. The immune system «no reason, no reason at all» begins to produce immunoglobulins (in this case, they are called autoantibodies) against its own tissues, so they is inflammation.

The most susceptible to the influence of autoantibodies connective tissue elements of the walls of small vessels, skin, joints, kidneys and heart. In the pathological process involved also and other bodies. Lupus can occur in different ways, but most often it is:

  • Diskoidnaya form in which manifestations of the disease occur only on the skin. This form can be called the initial stage of development of SLE when the disease process has not had time to transform into the system.
  • Disseminated form, characterized by multiple lesions of the skin and internal organs.

The causes of the disease

The etiology of SLE has not been studied sufficiently, however, scientists suggest that a significant role in the development of the disease play:

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  • Viral infections, which become the starting mechanism for the emergence of autoimmune reactions.
  • Hereditary factors.
  • Stress.
  • Abortions which are inherently the strongest stress to the body.
  • Pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Hormonal surges associated with sexual maturation.
  • Existing medication.
  • A tendency to allergies.
  • Excessive insolation.
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Contagious or not lupus?

Specific cutaneous manifestations of lupus naturally provoke in patients and the environment question: how is the disease? The answer is simple – no way. SLE is not contagious disease, lupus does not cause any infection. Therefore, patients no danger to their loved ones not present.

However, it should be remembered that a role in the development of the pathology is played by the heredity, so patients parents should be wary of the health of their children. Will not prevent consultation pediatric physician-rheumatologist about prevention of SLE.

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Symptoms of SLE

Disease begins usually gradual, although not excluded, and sudden development. In the majority of patients manifestation of lupus takes place in the age 14 – 25 years, children also may symptoms of SLE (usually 9 years).

The first signs of disease usually do not have any features: lose weight complain of a constant rise in body temperature (without objective justification), muscle pain, severe fatigue and weakness. Over time, these symptoms are added the more specific manifestations of SLE which can be combined into several groups:

  • Dermatological. The most characteristic skin manifestation in SLE is considered a «butterfly» rash on the face resembling a butterfly, the wings of which are located on the cheeks. In addition, the body appears red scaly patches on the mucous membrane of the mouth and genital ulcers appeared, inflamed red border of the lips. In addition, patients, as a rule, much hair fall out, break legs.
  • Orthopedic: inflammation and tenderness of the small joints of the hands, rarely other joints.
  • Hematology. Blood appear LE-cells, may cause anemia and leukopenia.
  • Nephrology. Developing lupus nephritis, which without treatment leads to kidney failure.
  • Cardiovascular. Patients showing the signs of endocarditis and pericarditis, over time, formed the pathology of the heart valves.
  • Neuropsychiatric – psychosis, seizures, sensory disorders, vascular brain lesions and other manifestations.
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Diagnosis and treatment of SLE

Diagnosis and treatment of lupus doctors-rheumatologists. To confirm the diagnosis (the identification of diagnostic criteria) patients conducting an extended survey, which includes:

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  • Medical examination.
  • Clinical analysis of blood and urine.
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  • Specific immunological studies (search for antinuclear antibodies, etc.).
  • Ultrasound of internal organs.
  • ECG, EchoCG.
  • X-rays of the lungs.
  • Consultation of therapist, nephrologist, cardiologist, neurologist and other specialists depending on the availability of patients with certain complaints and symptoms.
  • If necessary, a biopsy of the kidneys and other studies.

In the course of such examination doctors it is important to identify not only what it is (SLE or other disease), but also to assess the severity of internal organ involvement. The most prognostically unfavorable are the following complications: cardiac tamponade, neurolupus (specific CNS), lupus nephritis and renal failure, pulmonary fibrosis, etc. lupus erythematosus Patients require continuous treatment, carried out under the supervision of a rheumatologist and physical therapist. The plan of remedial measures usually include:

  • Hormonal therapy. In acute inflammatory process is illustrated pulse therapy with corticosteroids, and after the extinction of the acute symptoms – support treatment.
  • Immunosuppressive therapy, which is necessary to suppress the immune system, killing its own cells.
  • By extracorporeal detoxification (hemosorption, plasmapheresis).
  • Anti-inflammatory treatment non-hormonal drugs.
  • Symptomatic therapy.

In addition to the medical treatment of patients with SLE are shown and sanatorium-resort therapy, but there are restrictions: cannot be supercooled and overheated, not to tan, there are health resorts on the coast is contraindicated.

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Forecast

The use of modern treatment regimens for SLE gives a chance to patients to increase life expectancy after diagnosis up to 20 – 30 years or more. If the disease is diagnosed late and is not proper medical treatment, the prognosis is not good.

SLE and pregnancy

As the disease develops mainly in young women, the possibility of pregnancy in these patients is very important. Patients with lupus can get pregnant and bear children, but only under the condition of timely detection of the disease (before the occurrence of serious complications of the disease) and stable remission.

A sick woman needs to be prepared for the fact that her body may not respond normally to pregnancy – possible exacerbation or deterioration of health after the birth. In addition, there is a high risk of pregnancy complications (fetal growth retardation, threatened miscarriage, toxemia, premature birth, etc.).

In this regard, patients with lupus should be sure to prepare for pregnancy, and after its occurrence – to be under the control of not only the gynecologist, but the rheumatologist. Childbirth in these patients should take place in specialized perinatal centers, provided with everything necessary for diagnosis and treatment of complications, premature children.