Lupus – What Causes This Condition?
Posted with permission from lupusrash.org
Majority of scientists believe that the condition lupus develops as a response to the combination of several factors both outside and inside the body, including environment, genetics, and hormones.
Many researchers today assume that an environmental agent, like a virus or even a chemical, encountered by a genetically prone person at random, can trigger the condition. Researchers haven’t identified a particular environmental agent yet although it is likely that the hypothesis remains.
Even though environmental elements that set off lupus and even cause flares are not completely known, ultraviolet light such as UVB and UVA are the most commonly cited ones, as well as infections such as the effects of Epstein-Barr virus, as well as silica dust exposure in industrial and agricultural settings.
Other common examples of possible triggers in the environment include the following:
Sulfa drugs that increase a person’s sensitivity to the sun
Ultraviolet rays from fluorescent light bulbs and sun
Penicillin or similar antibiotic drugs
Sun-sensitizing tetracycline drugs
Colds, viral illnesses, or infection
Emotional stress like illness, divorce, death in the family, or any other complications in life
Other things that can cause body stress like physical harm, surgery, pregnancy, giving birth, or injury
Researchers identified over 50 genes that can be associated with lupus. The said genes are more often seen in patients who have lupus than people not suffering from the disease. Although the majority of the genes are not shown to be direct causes of lupus, it is believed that they can contribute to the condition.
In many cases, genes aren’t enough. It’s evident with the twins who were raised in the same environment and had the same inherited features, but only one suffered from lupus. Even if one of the twins has lupus, there’s a huge possibility that the other one would get the disease. For identical twins, the percentage is 30% while for fraternal twins, it’s 5 to 10 percent chance.
Lupus may develop in those who have no family history. However, there are some autoimmune diseases in several family members. Particular ethnic groups have also greater risk of developing lupus that might be related to the genes they have in common.
Hormones are the messengers of the body. They regulate many functions of the body. Since 9 of each 10 lupus occurrences, researchers have looked at the relationship between lupus and estrogen.
While both men and women produce estrogen, the production is much higher in females. A lot of women have more symptoms of lupus before menstrual periods or during the pregnancy period when the production of estrogen is high.
It may show that estrogen regulates the lupus severity. But, there’s no causal effect proven between estrogen or some hormones and lupus. Studies about women with lupus take estrogen in either post-menopausal therapy or birth control pills have shown no increase in particular disease activity. These days, researchers focus on the differences between women and men, beyond the levels of hormones that may account for the reason women are prone to lupus and some autoimmune diseases.