Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an auto-immune disorder in which antibodies against the body’s cells (nucleus and cytoplasm) are formed and affect different organs and organ systems. It has a relapsing and remitting course with multi-system involvement and varying clinical features.
The causes of SLE are multifactorial, with a mix of genetic, environmental, and host immune factors. The exact mechanism by which disease is caused is still not known. However following factors play an important role in causing SLE:
SLE belongs to a group of diseases called lupus. These are autoimmune diseases in which the body’s immune system attacks its tissues and causes various clinical manifestations. Following are the main types of lupus:
The worldwide prevalence of SLE varies. It remains undiagnosed for a considerable period. The highest prevalence is noted in the black population in European countries. It is primarily a disease of females. More than 90% of all diagnosed cases involve females. Males are rarely affected. The age range for affected females falls between 14 to 60 years. The high prevalence amongst females is not well-known but might have to do with estrogen effects. Certain genetic conditions such as Klinefelter syndrome are also linked with a higher disease incidence. Risk factors for SLE include:
The organs most affected by SLE include skin, joints, kidneys, blood cells, and nervous tissue. Signs and symptoms include:
Diagnosis of SLE is based on clinical findings and lab investigations. Family history of auto-immune diseases with clinical features is highly suggestive of SLE. Lab studies used in the diagnosis of SLE include:
Differential diagnoses for SLE include:
Medications to treat SLE:
SLE prognosis varies greatly depending upon several host factors such as immune response, age, gender, etc. It is a simple disease with minimal multisystem involvement and a good prognosis for some individuals. It might progress to severe complications that can cause morbidity and mortality in others.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is difficult to diagnose. Early diagnosis, prompt treatment, effective follow-up regimen, and lifestyle modifications are some ways to live with this remitting and recurring disease.
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on May 31, 2023.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) | CDC
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus) - Who gets it? | NIAMS (nih.gov)