Causes of lupus

If we knew what caused lupus, finding a cure wouldn’t be far behind, right?  Not so fast! Lupus is not an infection, viral or bacterial, so it cannot be CAUGHT. No particular gene has been identified in lupus patients that people free of the disease don’t have. So,that seems to rule out a complete genetic link, but if there is a gene, it needs a trigger.

Lupus does have a tendency to ‘run in families,’ so that helps make a stronger case FOR a genetic tie, or at least a familial one. Also, certain ethnic groups are more prone to develop lupus: Native-American, African, Asian, native Hawaiian.

Environment can play a role by providing the trigger that genetic and familial predisposition require. Some of those triggers are sun exposure, medication, (medications that sensitizes one to the sun), anything that is a stress on the system, like emotional (like divorce, death in the family) or physical (illness, trauma) stress.

While hormones, mainly estrogen, don’t cause  lupus, they can be associated with it. During a woman’s pregnancy, there is a higher level of estrogen and often,  pregnant women have a worsening of lupus symptoms.

There have been occasions that people have said that their lupus symptoms are worse during times of stress, but this requires more study; aha, it’s only natural that toxic chemicals trigger lupus, right? The NIH is conducting studies on this, but as of now, the answer is again, inconclusive.

Is the cause, something that we eat? There are rumors-and they are unsubstantiated rumors that lupus is caused by aspartame or other artificial sweeteners. Again, this isn’t backed up by any scientific studies.

Common signs and symptoms of systemic lupus er...

Common signs and symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus. (See Wikipedia:Systemic lupus erythematosus#Signs and symptoms). Model: Mikael Häggström. To discuss image, please see Template talk:Human body diagrams References MedicineNet > Systemic Lupus (cont.) Last Editorial Review: 1/30/2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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3 thoughts on “Causes of lupus

  1. A lot of the same questions are still in the air for Crohn’s Disease–another autoimmune disorder, with which I was diagnosed at 16… I remember being told by one doctor that there WASN’T a link between stress or foods and my flare-ups (a statement based on the LACK of “proof” by the medical community) when my own experience clearly showed that stress and certain foods ARE my triggers… Frustrating all around, no? 😉

    • Kana, Thanks for the comment and liking my post; it’s so frustrating that they don’t have the answers. But then I say to myself, I’ve got a mind, and when I use that mind 2 + 2 =4, so I’LL use MY mind to come to the conclusion that they don’t for whatever reason. I tend to think that I know my body; does that mean I know the meds for the conditions and intricate workings of autoimmunity? I guess I’d be making the big box if I did! But, all kidding aside, like you say, the docs may say there’s NO connection, but YOUR experience trumps the lack of scientific evidence. It’s YOUR body!

      • Exactly! Even as a teenager, I was shaking my head at the stuck-in-the-box thinking of a doctor who can’t make the distinction between the idea that “links haven’t been PROVEN” and the thinking (his!) that “links DON’T EXIST.” I was stuck with him for a number of years (only specialist in our small town, more’s the pity) and was thrilled to find some more thoughtful medical practitioners when I moved to a bigger city and had a CHOICE. 😉

        I’m sure it helped, too, that as I got older I felt more empowered to be assertive about the fact that *I* am the “expert authority” on my own particular case of Crohn’s… 😉

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