If diagnosed at an early stage, treated promptly and monitored routinely, systemic lupus erythematosus Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Definition
Systemic lupus erythematosus (also called lupus or SLE) is a disease where a person's immune system attacks and injures the body's own organs and tissues. Almost every system of the body can be affected by SLE. (SLE) is rarely fatal. You should make sure that every health care professional you deal with knows you have lupus.
Whether your disease is mild or severe, you have to stay under close medical supervision. You should let your health care professionals know immediately if you suffer any injuries, get sick or plan to become pregnant because many things may cause your disease to flare.
Typical warning signs of a flare are:
increased fatigue, malaise and muscle aches (like the flu)
a new or higher fever
increased pain or swelling in the joints, especially when you wake up
development or worsening of a rash, particularly one that is made worse by the sun
shortness of breath or pain when breathing
Keep an open dialogue with a health care professional whom you trust and can easily reach in an emergency. If you are experiencing a flare, it might be important to receive diagnostic tests, change medications or postpone certain elective procedures or surgeries.
Although a lupus pregnancy is considered high risk, many women with lupus can carry their babies safely to the end of the term if they plan the pregnancy with the help of a rheumatologist and receive care from an experienced high-risk obstetrical team. Women with lupus have a higher rate of miscarriage and premature births compared to women without the disease. Currently, more than half of women with lupus have pregnancies that are completely normal, 25 percent deliver healthy babies prematurely, and 20 percent experience miscarriage or death of a baby. Those with antiphospholipid antibodies have a much higher risk of developing preeclampsia preeclampsia /pre·eclamp·sia/ (pre?e-klamp´se-ah) a toxemia of late pregnancy, characterized by hypertension, proteinuria, and edema.
n. , a form of dangerously high blood pressure that increases the risk of miscarriage, low birthweight babies, premature births and injury to the mother. These complications sometimes occur in women with lupus who are not known to have antiphospholipid antibodies.
Several over-the-counter and prescription medications are available to manage lupus symptoms including:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen, as well as aspirin.
Corticosteroids. These drugs, including prednisone (Deltasone), prednisolone (Prelone), hydrocortisone hydrocortisone (hī'drəkôr`tĭzōn'), another name for the steroid hormone cortisol, more especially used to refer to preparations of this hormone used medicinally. (Cortef, Cortaid) and methylprednisolone methylprednisolone /meth·yl·pred·nis·o·lone/ (-pred-nis´ah-lon) a synthetic glucocorticoid derived from progesterone, used in replacement therapy for adrenocortical insufficiency and as an antiinflammatory and immunosuppressant; also (Medrol), suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation. They can be taken orally, given through injection or used in cream formulations to treat skin lesions. However, they can lead to numerous side effects, including acne, weight gain, diabetes, cataracts, cardiovascular problems and heightened susceptibility to infections. People with lupus are especially prone to weakened or damaged bones, a side effect of high-dose or long-term corticosteroid treatment. People with lupus who take corticosteroids should talk to their health care professionals about taking vitamin D, calcium or other treatments to prevent osteoporosis.
Antimalarial drugs, such as hydroxychloroquine sulfate (Plaquenil) and chloroquine chloroquine /chlo·ro·quine/ (klor´o-kwin) an antiamebic and anti-inflammatory used in the treatment of malaria, giardiasis, extraintestinal amebiasis, lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis; used also as the hydrochloride and (Aralen), can control a variety of lupus systems including arthritis, skin rashes, mouth ulcers, lung rashes, fatigue and fever. They promote healthy blood vessels and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Side effects of antimalarials include nausea or diarrhea and, in rare cases, damage to the retina of the eye. A person taking antimalarial antimalarial /an·ti·ma·lar·i·al/ (-mah-lar´e-al) therapeutically effective against malaria, or an agent with this quality.
Preventing or relieving the symptoms of malaria. treatment should be examined by an eye doctor every six months to a year to prevent unnecessary optical damage. The beneficial effects of these treatments on symptoms are often slow at the beginning. It may take weeks or months for these medications to make an impact.
Other agents like methotrexate (Folex, Mexate, Rheumatrex), azathioprine (Asasan), mycophenolate mofetil (Cellcept), leflunamide (Arava) and cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral) are sometimes used to control symptoms of lupus. These are immunomodulating drugs, and they have some side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, rashes, liver toxicity and bone marrow suppression Bone marrow suppression
A decrease in cells responsible for providing immunity, carrying oxygen, and those responsible for normal blood clotting.
Mentioned in: Cancer Therapy, Definitive
bone marrow suppression , usually leading to low white blood cell counts. Methotrexate can cause inflammatory damage to the lung or liver, and in the case of cyclosporine, there is a potential for kidney damage.
Chemotherapy. Under some circumstances, chemotherapeutic drugs such as cyclophosphamide cyclophosphamide /cy·clo·phos·pha·mide/ (-fos´fah-mid) a cytotoxic alkylating agent of the nitrogen mustard group; used as an antineoplastic, as an immunosuppressant to prevent transplant rejection, and to treat some diseases (Cytoxan) may be used to suppress the immune system and inflammation. Cyclophosphamide can be used safely, with care, but can have significant side effects, including gastrointestinal complications, hair loss and greater risk of infection.
The Lupus Foundation of America The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) is the nation's leading non-profit voluntary health organization dedicated to finding the causes of and cure for lupus. The LFA was founded in 1977, and currently operates a nationwide network of almost 300 chapters, branches and support groups. . 2008. http://www.lupus.org. Accessed June 2008.
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"FDA Issues Public Health Advisory on Vioxx as its Manufacturer Voluntarily Withdraws Its Product." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov. Accessed October 1, 2004.
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"Handout on Health: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus." National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Revised August 2003 http://www.niams.nih.gov. Accessed June 8, 2004.
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"Treatment." Lupus Foundation of America. http://www.lupus.org. Accessed June 8, 2004
"Lupus is a Significant Health Issue for Women and People of Color Noun 1. people of color - a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)
people of colour, colour, color
race - people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock; "some biologists doubt that there are important ." May 2001. The National Women's Health Information Center. http://www.4woman.gov. Accessed June 8, 2004.
"Drugs Approved by the FDA: Drug Name: Mobicr (meloxicam) Tablets" CenterWatch Clinical Trials Listing Service. Updated Nov. 14 2000. http://www.centerwatch.com. Acessed June 8, 2004.
"Targets for New SLE Treatments" Division of Rheumatology of The Hospital for Special Surgery. January 2002. http://rheumatology.hss.edu. Accessed June 8, 2004.
Keywords: lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus, sle, pregnant, symptoms, miscarriage, pregnancy, medications, side effects, immune system, suppress the immune system, antimalarial, premature birth, flare, treatment, nsaid, nsaids