Systemic lupus erythematosus
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Definition, Epidemiology, and 8 Symptoms

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic multisystem inflammatory autoimmune disease. Women of reproductive age have the highest prevalence. SLE has clinical manifestations, the course of the disease and its prognosis are very diverse. Genetic, immunological, hormonal and environmental factors play an important role in SLE pathophysiology.

Systemic lupus erythematosus definition

SLE disease is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease, with an unknown etiology. Clinical manifestations, the course of the disease and the prognosis of SLE disease are very diverse. The immune system in this disease will experience a loss of the ability to see the difference between foreign substances and cells and tissues of the body itself. In SLE disease, there is excessive production of antibodies, but does not attack germs or antigens but attacks the immune system of cells and tissues of the body itself.

Such antibodies are called “auto-antibodies” that react with “own” antigens to form an immune complex. The immune complex contained in the tissues will result in inflammation and damage to the tissues.

In some people only the skin and joints are affected, but in some patients, other lupus attacks vital organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, central or peripheral nervous system. Generally, there are no two lupus patients affected by systemic lupus with exactly the same symptoms.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Epidemiology

In the US, the most reliable figure is 0.05 – 0.1% of the population, but different figures are obtained from various reports. Some races, such as blacks, Native Americans, and Hispanics, are at higher risk of SLE and may develop more severe illnesses.

The prevalence of SLE worldwide is no different from reports from the US; the disease seems to be more common in China, in Southeast Asia, and among blacks in the Caribbean but is rarely found in black ancestry in Africa. SLE is rare in prepubertal, but often begins at the age of the second to fourth decades; some studies show the peak of both new cases at around the age of 50 years.

The distribution of gender is quite clear; SLE develops in women of about ten times the productive age than men of the same age. At a younger age, women are three to four times more frequent than men. At older ages, the ratio of women and men is 8:1.

In keeping with the theory that SLE is more common in the female gender, the case is also female. According to the study, which said the second peak of SLE at the age of about 50, the case was 48 years old.

Systemic lupus erythematosus symptoms and signs

Basically the symptoms of lupus disease can vary by person depending on age, severity of the disease, medical history, and overall patient condition. In addition, the symptoms of lupus disease can also usually change at any time.

However, there are some typical signs and symptoms of lupus disease that you may be able to observe and be aware of. Here are some typical signs and symptoms of SLE are:

  • Limp, lethargic, and powerless
  • Joint pain and swelling or stiffness, usually in the hands, wrists and knees
  • Has red rashes on parts of the body that are often exposed to the sun, such as the face (cheeks and nose)
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon makes fingers discolored and becomes painful when exposed to cold
  • Headache
  • Hair loss
  • Pleurisy (inflammation of the membranes of the lungs), which can make breathing painful, accompanied by shortness of breath.
  • When the kidneys are affected it can cause high blood pressure and kidney failure.

The symptoms of SLE mentioned above may look similar to various symptoms of other diseases. Therefore, if you have concerns about a particular symptom, consult your doctor.

Your doctor may advise you to perform a series of tests to ensure an accurate diagnosis.


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Last Updated on May 10, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team


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