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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

 

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a potentially fatal autoimmune disease that can affect the skin, joints and other vital organs of the body.

Causes

Its causes are not clear but possible risk factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Infections
  • Sunlight
  • Certain medications
  • Stress

Symptoms

Symptoms vary from patient to patient and may include:

  • Low grade fever
  • Joint pain or arthritis
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Butterfly rash
  • Mouth or nose ulcers
  • Photosensitivity
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Hair loss
  • Inflammation of the lungs
  • Inflammation of the heart
  • Reynaud’s phenomenon
  • Psychosis

Treatment

There is no cure for this condition but treatment can prevent complications and reduce discomfort. It may include:

  • NSAIDs
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antimalarial medication
  • Immunosuppressive medication
  • Plasmapheresis
  • Spleen removal
  • Kidney transplant

Prevention

There is no known way to prevent SLE.