Q I am a Boston resident and have recently been diagnosed with Lupus. I dont understand how I got it. What are the causes? Could I have avoided it?
Most patients have the same concerns you do. And the answers are not easy, because the cause of lupus is still not understood. But there are some things researchers do know about this mysterious disease.
- Lupus is not contagious. Many wonder if they got it from a stranger, but this is impossible.
- Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to malfunction and the body to attack its own tissues.
- Genetics may play a role in how you got lupus. Researchers are studying family histories of lupus patients to see if some people are more likely to get this disease.
- Researchers are also studying environmental factors. Among these factors are exposure to ultraviolet light, stress, smoking and some toxins, such as trichloroethylene in water and silica dust.
- The research is still very inconclusive, but the relationship of hormonal factors and lupus is being studied. They are looking for hormonal triggers like pregnancy.
- Viruses and bacteria are also considered to be possible triggers, but no conclusions have been reached.
- One type of lupus, drug-induced, is thought to be caused by the long-term use of some medications.
- Most researchers feel that it is a combination of these factors that causes lupus, but as of now, there is no definite answer as to how this disease happens.
If you have been diagnosed with lupus, there is a 90% chance that your disease can be managed with various therapies. But, if your symptoms become severe enough, you could become unable to work.
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