Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic disease that can have phases of worsening symptoms that alternate with periods of mild symptoms.
The immune systems normally fights off dangerous infections and bacteria to keep the body healthy.An immune system disease occurs when the immune system attacks the body because it confuses it for something foreign. There are many autoimmune diseases, including SLE.
In this disease, the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain and other organs.
Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when the body’s tissues are attacked by its own immune system. The immune system is a complex system within the body that is designed to fight infectious agents, such as bacteria and other foreign microbes.
One of the ways that the immune system fights infections is by producing antibodies that bind to the microbes. People with SLE produce abnormal antibodies in their blood that target tissues within their own body rather than foreign infectious agents.
When internal organs are involved, the condition is referred to as systemic lupus erythematous (SLE).
No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly, may be mild or severe, may be temporary or permanent. Most people with SLE have mild disease characterized by episodes- called flares – when signs and symptoms get worse for a while, then improve or even disappear completely for a time.
Symptoms can vary and change over time.
Common symptoms include-
• Severe fatigue
• Joint pain
• Joint swelling
• Headaches, confusion and memory loss
• A rash on the cheeks and nose, known as butterfly rash
• blood clotting problems
• Dry eyes
• Hair loss
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Fingers turning white or blue and tingling when cold, known as Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Other symptoms depend on the part of the body the disease is attacking, such as the digestive tract, the heart, or the skin.
As an autoimmune disease, SLE occurs when your immune system attacks healthy tissue in your body. It is likely that SLE results from a combination of your genetics and your environment.
It appears that people with an inherited predisposition for lupus may develop the disease when they come into contact with something in the enviroment that can trigger SLE. The cause in most cases in unknown. However, some potential triggers include –
Exposure to the sun may bring on SLE skin lesions or trigger an internal response in susceptible people.
Having an infection can initiate SLE or cause a relapse in some people.
SLE can be triggered by certain types of blood pressure medications, anti – seizure medications and antibiotics. People who have drug induced SLE usually get better When they stop taking the medication.
Risk Factors –
The following factors increases the risk of SLE –
It is more commonin women than men.
Although it affects people of all ages, it most oftenly affects people between the ages of 15 to 45
It is more common in African Americans, and Asian Americans.
Possible complications of SLE includes –
• Blood clots and inflammation of blood vessels or vasculitis
• Inflammation of the heart or pericarditis
• Heart Attack
• Inflammation of lung tissue and the lining of the lung or pleuritis
• Kidney inflammation
• Decreased kidney function
• Kidney failure
• Behavioral changes
• Memory changes
• Negative effects on pregnancy, even it can cause miscarriage
• Bone tissue death
• Vision problems
• Increases risk of cancer
Diagnosing systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is difficult because signs and symptoms vary considerably from person to person.
No one test can diagnose systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Blood and urine tests may include-
▪︎Complete blood count
▪︎Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
▪︎ Kidney and liver assessment
▪︎ Antinuclear antibody (ANA) test
▪︎ Chest X-ray
Treatment for SLE depends on your signs and symptoms. As signs and symptoms flare and subside, doctor will decide whether you need to change medications or dosages.
The most commonly used medications includes –
• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen sodium and ibuprofen.
• Antimalarial drugs such as hydroxychloroquine
• Corticosteroids such as prednisone and other types of corticosteroids can counter the inflammation.
• Immunosuppressants such as azathioprine, mycophenoIate, methotrexate, cyclosporine etc.
• Biologics such as belimumab(Benlysta) administered intravenously, reduces SLE symptoms in some people. Rituximab may be beneficial for some people.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
SLE can be related to Visarpa & Amavata. Visarpa is a disease that spreads in different routes which is similar to SLE as both are invasive in nature. Amavata is a disease in which aggravated doshas enter into sacral joints causes stiffness of the whole body due to pain.
In Ayurveda, there are three doshas that are responsible for SLE. The Dhatus that are disturbed in this disease are twak, ras, rakta and mansa. When the doshas are aggravated it causes vitiatem of Agni and leads to Ama formation. These aggravated doshas carries the ama and other doshas into ras and rakta dhatu that ultimately lead to formation of SLE. As the doshas goes deeper into the tissues, it becomes more difficult to treat.
Line of treatment-
There is no cure for SLE. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms.
In Ayurveda, the treatment is first detoxification of the body by removing the vitiated doshas from the body and it can be achieved through Panchakarma therapy.
It needs to be treated with tridosha shamak herbs such as
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