How do you get lupus

No, Lupus is not contagious, you cannot catch it from contact with other people, nor is it an airborne disease, so it doesn't spread from person to person.

So – How do you get lupus

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, the exact cause of lupus is not clearly understood.  Although this seems incredible in this day and age, a lot of research is being carried out on the treatment for Lupus.  What is known is that Lupus is an auto-immune disease, and it has a range of factors that can trigger the onset of Lupus disease.  Lupus instigates the immune system within the body to turn on the body’s own internal organs, and to attack normal, healthy tissues.

There are known factors that can trigger Lupus

The primary disposition for Lupus seems to be an inherited disposition for the disease.  But even if your family has Lupus, this does not mean that you are certain to contract Lupus.  There seems to be external triggers that interact with the inherited disposition, that then cause the disease to become active in the body’s auto-immune system.

Over-exposure to sunlight seems to be one of the primary triggers that can cause individuals who are susceptible to Lupus to go on to develop full blown symptoms of Lupus.  Other individuals who have an inherited disposition for Lupus might be triggered by medications, and some examples might be anti-seizure medicine, and blood pressure medication.  Another factor seems to be that fluctuations in hormones, or the taking of hormone medications can cause the onset of Lupus.

In some circumstances, the symptoms of Lupus can reduce when the person becomes aware of the problem and ceases the medication which can alleviate the Lupus reaction.

Symptoms of Lupussymptoms of lupus

If the onset of Lupus has been triggered by environmental factors, sometimes it can be difficult to realise what has caused the symptoms.  Symptoms of Lupus can involved fatigue, sudden joint pain, accompanied by redness and swelling, development of a rash, and a relatively mild, be recurring fever.

Unfortunately, Lupus symptoms are known to re-occur after periods of remission, and generally the symptoms can become worse, or involve new complaints, which add to the discomfort of suffering from Lupus.

What causes Lupus? 

The cause of lupus is not known, in accordance with the latest information from the Lupus Foundation of America. There is evidence of numerous triggers that cause the onset of Lupus disease.  The known triggers for Lupus include inheriting a genetic disposition to the disease, being exposed to environmental factors such as sunlight, and the fluctuation of hormones can all have an effect on Lupus disease.

So while there may be no known cause of Lupus, what is known is that the disease triggers as a response to a combination of factors both inside and outside the body.  The primary triggers for the initiation of Lupus, include hormonal variations, genetic make up, and environmental exposure.

Inherited Genetic Disposition

Although there is no identified genetic deficiency responsible for Lupus, there is little doubt that it runs in families.  However, it is important to understand that not everyone who has a genetic disposition for Lupus will contract the disease.  So it is important to understand what you can do to avoid it.  And we will discuss some external factors below.

There is a correlation between some ethnic groups who have a higher disposition to developing Lupus, such as some African people, some Asian people and some people of the Pacific Island nations, and this is due to an inherited disposition.

Females are by far the largest proportion of sufferers of Lupus, and this may be due to hormonal fluctuation, which is a known trigger for Lupus disease.  Males can also suffer from Lupus.

Hormone Fluctuation

Hormonal fluctuation has been identified as a trigger for the onset of Lupus, and this has been used to explain why most people who suffer from Lupus are female.  It is thought that the normal menstrual cycle of estrogen production may be responsible for triggering some cases of Lupus.  There is an identified link between the onset of Lupus symptoms and high levels of estrogen, but there has not been any evidence for estrogen being the single cause of Lupus.  More likely it is the fluctuation of hormones or some type of imbalance in the hormonal system.  There is no demonstrated link between Lupus and any hormonal medications, such as birth control pills, or hormone replacement treatments.

External Environmental factors

There are a range of external factors that have been identified as triggers for the onset of Lupus.  These same factors are also responsible for the recurrence of Lupus flares, so it is important to understand these external factors, and to avoid them whenever possible.  Some of the external factors to look out for are:

  • Medications
  • Illnesses that affect the immune system
  • Exposure to sunlight or ultra-violet light
  • Pregnancy or birth or a child
  • Emotional Stress, trauma or injury

Certain medications have been associated with the symptoms of Lupus, and these include blood pressure, seizure and even antibiotic medication.

Some viruses, infections and illnesses that concern the immune system can also have follow on effects after the initial illness has gone.  These auto-immune problems can remain after the initial illness, and sometimes develop into full blown Lupus disease.

Exposure to sunlight or ultra-violet light seems to be a trigger for those people with a predisposition to Lupus disease.  This is indicated by development of a rash on exposed areas of the skin, where previous exposure to sunlight has occurred.

There is some correlation between pregnancy and childbirth with the development of Lupus disease.  Apart from hormone fluctuation, or perhaps traumatic birth, the reasons for the onset of Lupus are not well understood.

Summary:  Living with Lupus

Finally, there are unrelated triggers that can cause the onset of Lupus such as injury, stress or emotional trauma.  The triggers are generally only noticed for the occurrence of a severe traumatic event.  It is more difficult to assess what impact that normal stressful life events may have as a trigger for Lupus, but there may also be a connection for some people.

Whilst this information may be too late to prevent the onset of Lupus, many of these factors have been identified as causing ongoing flares and recurrent bouts of Lupus, so it is important to be aware of any triggers that may affect you.

 

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