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Old 11-25-2008, 08:05 PM   #1
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What Causes Lupus?

A friend of mine has had some tests run and the Dr thinks that she has a minor case of Lupus. I have never heard of a "minor" case but anyway, I wanted to know how people get this condition. Does it run in families? She said that no one in her family health history has ever had it. She has had in the past Mono many years ago and was diagnosed with Fibromyagia (sp?) could that have anything to do with it? She is in her early 50's and she is pretty stressed out. She has had more tests done but won't find out about those until next week. Anyone have any info I can tell her? Thanks so much.

 
Old 11-26-2008, 03:35 AM   #2
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Re: What Causes Lupus?

Hi. Lupus is thought to be caused by some unknown combination of genetic, environmental, T-cell & B-cell, and antibody factors. The immune system *mistakenly* attacks healthy cells by creating one (or possibly more) of 16 (or so) antibodies/substances that attack healthy cells. It's an "autoimmune" condition, meaning arising from within. It's not contagious.

"Mild" essentially means that major organs (kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, etc.) are not involved. The literature mainky discusses SLE, systemic lupus erythematosus, which is the classic kind we think of when we hear the word. But there are ALSO several "subsets" that stay milder considerably more often than SLE does. These typically milder subsets include DLE (discoid lupus erythematosus), SCLE (subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus), and DILE (drug-induced lupus erythematosus). And even in classic SLE, patients are considered mild where there's no major organ involvement.

Milder patients usually respond well to NSAID's and antimalarials (the lightest class of meds used for lupus). Many people with lupus must avoid sun.

I've read that many people with lupus have also been Dx'ed with Fibromyalgia &/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, because there's symptom overlap, especially early on, when lupus is "on the rise".

If reading would help your friend's stress level, you two could visit your local library or a large bookstore, to look for lupus hardcovers. One terrific author is Dr. Daniel Wallace, and another is Dr. Robert Lahita.

You're a good friend! I hope you two post more when you can. GOOD LUCK to you both, sincerely, Vee

 
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:48 AM   #3
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Re: What Causes Lupus?

Veej,

Thanks for your response! Do you know if it runs in the family or can the onset start with Mono because like I said, she has had that for years. Do you know what some symptoms are and are they everyday or would she feel great one day and lousy maybe a few days later? Thanks again for the info!

 
Old 11-27-2008, 02:14 AM   #4
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Re: What Causes Lupus?

Good morning. I've read that lupus isn't considered "genetic", but risk does increase *slightly* depending on the relationship. e.g., risk elevation is highest in identical twins, less in fraternal twins, and roughly 10% for first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, children). Also, once there's lupus in a family, the risk is somewhat higher that others will have SOME autoimmune, but not necessarily lupus. Dr. Wallace gives examples of other possibilitites: autoimmune thyroiditis, RA, and scleroderma.

MONO: I've seen news reports about EBV being studied as a possible cause for lupus. Apparently many lupus patents have very high EBV loads, but I *think* the experts have NOT inferred causality. Why? First of all, EVERYONE has been exposed to mono & developed the antibody, so we all tend to test positive, which simply proves we were EXPOSED.

As for why levels may remain so high in those with lupus: It's possible that there are things in the genetic/chemical makeup of people with lupus that simply allow the EBV results to remain high.

The last EBV/lupus article I remember was some years back, so I'm going on memory here---plus, I'm only a patient! FYI, before I was Dx'ed, my own EBV level was very high, so I've been curious about this also. Also, I never had mono.

LUPUS SYMPTOMS: I think the "sticky post" (permanent info post) containing diagnostic criteria, found at the top of the thread list, covers symptoms also. Fatigue & pain are probably at the very top of the long list.

Yes, I can feel good one day & tired the next. Even in the course of a day, my pain can shift from one area to another. Lupus is known for its "protean" (ever-changing) manifestations, its huge array of possible problems, and flares. That said, proper diagnosis, treatment and follow-up can bring meaningful improvement.

JUST CURIOUS: Is your friend's doctor a RHEUMATOLOGIST? They're the specialists most conversant with lupus.

Hope this helps a little. Best wishes, Vee

Last edited by VeeJ; 11-27-2008 at 02:16 AM. Reason: correction

 
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