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Systemic lupus erythematosus - symptoms, causes and methods of treatment

Systemic lupus erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus is a disease that is associated with a compromised immune system.She simply perceives the cells of her own organism for alien ones and starts actively fighting them.During this process, the body produces harmful, poisonous substances - they affect almost all organs and systems.

Statistics show that systemic lupus erythematosus is diagnosed in women aged 15-25 years.

Table of contents: Reasons for developing systemic lupus erythematosus Symptoms of lupus erythematosus

Reasons for development of systemic lupus erythematosus

Worldwide, it is recognized that the only cause of the development of the disease under consideration is the formation of abnormal antibodies in the body.This occurs under the direct influence of genetic factors, which confirms the relationship of the disease with the congenital deficiency of the components of the immune system.

Despite the established fact of diagnosing systemic lupus erythematosus in the majority of women, no evidence of a link between the disease under consideration and hormonal failures was found.

Note: hormonal disorders only provoke manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus, so when diagnosing this disease, patients are forbidden from taking oral contraceptives.

This disease can be asymptomatic for a long time - the patients will only note a pain syndrome of low intensity in joints and muscle tissues and periodically appearing rashes on the skin.But during such an asymptomatic course of lupus erythematosus, abnormal antibodies accumulate in the body - at any time they can lead to serious pathological organ damage.

Symptoms of lupus erythematosus

Symptoms of Lupus Erythematosus There are two forms of systemic lupus erythematosus: acute and chronic.Depending on what form will be diagnosed in the patient, the symptoms of lupus erythematosus will also differ.The only visible phenomenon that is considered the main sign of the disease under consideration is a rash on the face that affects the bridge of the nose and spreads to the cheekbones.Doctors call this a "butterfly".

Acute form

In this case, systemic lupus erythematosus always begins its development suddenly - fever, inflammation of the characteristic "butterfly" on the face.It is interesting that the acute course of the described disease can last 1-2 years.But if the competent appointment of medicines is made and hormonal preparations are picked up, long-term remission can develop.

Chronic form

The course of this form of the disease is long, differs in wavy character and frequent relapses.The chronic form is manifested by polyarthritis, polyserositis, Reynaud's syndrome.Within 5-10 years of chronic course of systemic lupus erythematosus, pathologies of the lungs, kidneys, and heart are necessarily added to all the manifestations of the disease described.

In medicine, it is accepted to distinguish three degrees of development of systemic lupus erythematosus :

  • minimal;
  • average;
  • high.

They are determined during the manifestation of morphological and immunological disorders.

What happens in the body?

Patients developing a systemic lupus erythematosus present a variety of complaints, some specific simply does not exist. Here are just some of them: :

  • spontaneous, unmotivated increase in body temperature;
  • recurrent pain in large and small joints;
  • sleep is disturbed - at night patients are often awakened, which leads to fatigue;
  • appears a general weakness.

Systemic lupus erythematosus is a progressive disease, therefore, in the course of time pathologic changes occur in the body.


According to statistics, almost all patients diagnosed with lupus erythematosus show lupus arthritis.And most often these pathological changes are exposed to small joints - hands, ankle, wrist.It is often diagnosed deformity of the joints of the fingers of the upper limbs, which provokes severe pain in the muscles.

Skin covers

Skin infection is the most common manifestation of the disease in question.For systemic lupus erythematosus, the appearance of rashes in the region of the bridge of the nose and zygomatic arches, called the "butterfly". These rashes may have different manifestations of :

  • vascular "butterfly" - unstable reddening with a bluish tinge, which is most often exacerbated by exposure to external factors( cold, heat, patient's inner excitement);
  • erythematous-edematous spots - "butterfly" is characterized by cornification of the skin;
  • "butterfly" with dense edema in the zone of localization of rashes - this happens against the background of the general edema of the face;
  • in the "butterfly" will be clearly outlined atrophy, which has the appearance of a scar.

Skin covers In some cases, the rashes have not only localization in the face area - they are observed on the neck( decollete zone), and in the scalp, and on the lips, and even over the affected joints of the lower / upper extremities.

Separate case - rashes on mucous membranes, stomatitis, thrush and small hemorrhages can be diagnosed.

Skin manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus are both vasculitides and trophic disorders, which include ulcers, bedsores, deformation of the nails and hair loss.

Serous membranes

Dermatitis, polyarthritis and polyserositis - this triad is the basis for diagnosing systemic lupus erythematosus.Polyserositis - this term means inflammation of the pleura( pleurisy), inflammation of the cardiac sac( pericarditis), less often, but there is also peritonitis( an inflammatory process in the peritoneum).It is noteworthy that the inflammatory process in systemic lupus erythematosus "migrates" from one serosa to another.

Cardiovascular system

With the development of systemic lupus erythematosus, the doctors note the defeat of two, and in some cases, three, cardiac membranes.Against the background of the examined disease, pericarditis, atypical endocarditis of the warty type, myocarditis are diagnosed.

Disorders of the vascular system lead to the appearance of signs of Raynaud's syndrome.

The cardiovascular system


Actually considered disease does not affect the lungs, there is a secondary infection - pneumococcal.In rare cases, vascular pneumonia can be diagnosed - its appearance is associated with a lesion of the vascular system.

Gastrointestinal tract

Patients with a history of systemic lupus erythematosus note loss of appetite and dyspeptic disorders.Very rarely can necrotic processes develop - for example, ulcers of the esophagus, aphthous stomatitis.


Glomerulonephritis is the most common disease in this disease.This is a rather dangerous condition that can lead to disability of a person.

Neuropsychic sphere

In 50% of cases in patients diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, disorders in the psycho-emotional background are diagnosed: irritation, depression, fatigue, unmotivated aggression.This includes sleeping disorders, headaches.And the most severe manifestations are meningoencephalitis, encephalomyelitis.

Diagnostic measures

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The diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus is based on examination of the patient and laboratory tests.In the blood will be found in large numbers of "lupus cells" - LE-cells.But for the diagnosis of the disease in question, it is very important to have a complete clinical picture. In medicine, there are certain criteria for :

  • characteristic rashes on the face - "butterfly";Alopecia are alopecia;
  • ;
  • discoid lupus erythematosus;
  • ulcerative formations on the oral mucosa and nasopharynx;
  • false positive reaction of Wasserman;
  • arthritis with no deformities of the affected joints;
  • hypersensitivity to ultraviolet rays;
  • pleurisy;
  • pericarditis;
  • manifestations of psychosis;
  • Reynaud syndrome.

If any of the above criteria are available, and LE cells are found in the blood, then this is the basis for the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus.

Principles of treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus

If the disease in question is diagnosed at an early stage of its development, then the treatment will be very effective.But such a forecast doctors give only if they undergo therapy under stationary conditions with every exacerbation of the disease.

If the patient's complaints are dominated by signs of inflammation in the large and small joints, the following prescriptions are made:

  • salicylates;
  • analgin;
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • indomethacin.

Treatment with these drugs is a long process.Doctors should consider the possible occurrence of allergic reactions during long-term therapy and the ability of these agents to provoke the formation of edema.

Tablets( 1) The chronic form of the given disease is treated with quinoline drugs.They should be taken no more than 14 consecutive days, because they provoke the development of side effects - nausea, vomiting, tinnitus, headache.

The main method of treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus are the drugs of the glucocorticosteroid line.Doctors must prescribe them to patients who have serous membranes, as well as heart / kidney / vessels.Most often, prednisolone is prescribed, but if the body does not respond to therapy with this drug, doctors make a substitution for dexamethasone or triampcinolone.

In the absence of effect in the treatment of glucocorticosteroid drugs, experts recommend the use of cytotoxic immunosuppressants.In general, these drugs are shown in severe form of the systemic lupus erythematosus, when the patient is afflicted with many organs and systems.

Important: is strictly prohibited for patients diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus to visit resorts and undergo treatment in southern sanatoria - this may trigger the onset of another exacerbation of the disease.

Preventive measures

Primary prevention is the detection of such a disease in the genus of patients.Even if the most distant relative has been diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, or if the patient has isolated skin lesions, one should adhere to certain recommendations. They are the following :

  • to avoid ultraviolet irradiation;
  • should not be exposed to direct sunlight;
  • adhere to a salt-restricted diet;
  • regularly undergo preventive examinations with a dermatologist and infectious disease specialist.


In case of diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus, the risk of exacerbation of the disease should be minimized - this will be secondary prevention.It is necessary to undergo adequate, timely treatment in a timely manner, it is desirable to avoid vaccination and surgical interventions.

Systemic lupus erythematosus is not treated by folk medicine - the cause of this pathology lies in the internal immune processes, so no medicinal plants will help.

Tsygankova Yana Aleksandrovna, medical reviewer, therapeutist of the highest qualification category.

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