Lupus can suddenly appear
Illustration: Taken and in a slightly modified form
play from immun3.gif
In systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), several processes, also not shown here, are disturbed. B-lymphocytes (B-cells), under the supervision of T-lymphocytes (T-helper cells), form antibodies that are directed against the body's own cell components, especially cell nuclei. Their finely coordinated control steps are no longer sufficient. The normal processes of the immune defense get out of hand.
The excessive inflammation leads to a loss of function and tissue damage in many organs of the body. The body therefore produces antibodies that do not - as would be usual - serve to ward off infections, but attack the body's own, healthy cell and tissue structures. This gives rise to the manifold symptoms of SLE. Which organ systems are ultimately affected, however, varies from patient to patient or from patient to patient.
Immunosuppressive drugs (corticosteroid, hydroxychloroquine, azathioprine, mycene phenolate, methotrexate, belimumab etc.) inhibit various steps in these processes and thus the disorders of the immune system in SLE.
Despite the different manifestations, SLE sufferers have one thing in common: In 99% of patients, antibodies directed against cell nucleus components, so-called antinuclear antibodies, are found.
Lupus erythematosus can generally come in two forms
- Cutaneous lupus erythematosus (skin lupus)
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (involvement of various organs)
Lupus is chronic in irregular attacks and is very individual. SLE can be mild, severe, or life-threatening, depending on which organs are affected. The first flare-up can occur at any age. SLE develops insidiously, and the burden of the disease usually increases with age.
Since the individual course cannot be determined with certainty in advance, regular medical check-ups are necessary.
The actual cause of SLE is still unknown today. The triggering factors are: hormonally active phases (such as puberty, pregnancy, menopause), ultraviolet light, viral diseases, drug intolerance and stress.
Those affected are almost always tired, no longer as productive as they used to be and feel listless and bruised. Slightly elevated temperatures, unexplained weight loss, slight hair loss and swelling of the lymph glands often occur. Some patients are suddenly sensitive to the sun and cold or are prone to allergies. A characteristic symptom of SLE is also butterfly erythema.
Most people will experience these general symptoms. However, they can be found in different intensities and combinations, individually or in bulk. At the onset of the disease, they usually appear insidious.
In addition, various organs / organ systems or body regions can be affected by the disease. The following table gives an overview of which organs are affected by the disease and how often:
Affected organs /
such as tiredness, decreased performance, etc.
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