Systemic lupus erythematosus
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune disease. This means that the body's immune system (which normally protects the body from infection) attacks its own tissues as if they were foreign. This leads to damage to various organs.
The causes of systemic lupus erythematosus are unclear.
It is assumed that there is a genetic predisposition (this means that the risk for a person is higher if he has family members with this disease), and it is believed that environmental factors (microorganisms, viruses, drugs and toxic substances, ultraviolet radiation, etc.) can play a provocative role in the development of the disease.
Most often, young women suffer from this disease, but it can develop at any age, including men.
Symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus.
Symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus can be common, affecting the whole body, or associated with the effects of inflammation on individual organs.
Common symptoms: fatigue, weakness, fever, weight changes.
- Musculoskeletal system damage: swelling and pain in the joints, muscle pain, stiffness in the joints.
- Skin lesions: with systemic lupus erythematosus, a variety of rashes can occur. The most common is a rash known as a "butterfly-type rash" because of its shape. It manifests itself as redness on the cheeks and the back of the nose.
- Mucosal lesions: may manifest as frequent stomatitis (inflammation of the oral mucosa), cheilitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane and skin of the lips).
- Kidney damage: may be manifested by the appearance of edema, increased blood pressure.
- Lung damage: inflammation of the pleural membrane of the lungs leads to the formation of fluid (pleurisy), which can manifest as coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain.
- Heart damage: inflammation can occur in the heart muscle (myocardium), heart valves, the lining of the heart (pericardium) which is manifested by pain in the heart, a violation of the rhythm of the heart.
- Damage to the nervous system: may be manifested by headaches, cramps, burning and tingling in the hands and feet, and in some cases a stroke may develop.
A rheumatologist is engaged in the diagnosis and treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus.
Depending on the symptoms, the necessary examination is carried out, including tests and instrumental studies.
Treatment is selected by a rheumatologist for each patient individually, depending on the severity of the disease and organ damage.