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Monday, October 17, 2016

What causes Lupus: major risk factors

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What causes lupus? It cannot be figured out precisely. However it is widely believed a host of factors both from inside and outside of human body including hormones, genetics and the environment are to blame for the development of lupus. 



Hormones
Hormones are chemical components that control and regulate the function of certain cells and organs in the body. 

Given the fact, 9 out of every 10 lupus sufferers are females, researchers have investigated the likely link between estrogen and lupus. Although estrogen production in body is common to both male and female, its production is greater in women. 


With enhanced estrogen production just before menstrual periods and during pregnancy, researchers noted a rise in lupus symptom. This apparently suggests a link between estrogen and lupus occurrence. However, no causal effects has been established, on contrary studies including women taking estrogen in the form of birth control pills or as postmenopausal therapy have shown no increase in disease severity. 

Estrogen production in the body is thought to be linked with development of lupus


Genetics 
Lupus is more prevalent among some families and few genes are believed as contributing to the development of lupus. However, the identified genes alone are not conclusively causing the disease, as evident from twins where one of the twins develop lupus. 

In siblings of individuals with lupus, the risk of developing the disease is 20 times higher than that of general population. 


Ethnic groups such as people of African, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Island descent have a greater risk of developing lupus, which may be related to genes they have in common. 

Life style may contribute to development of the disease.


Environment 
Researchers consider certain environmental agents such as chemicals and viruses may contribute in triggering lupus in genetically vulnerable individuals. 

Environmental elements that may trigger lupus include:
  • Ultraviolet rays from the sun - UVB in particular
  • Ultraviolet rays from fluorescent light bulbs
  • Exposure to silica dust in agricultural or industrial settings
  • Sulfa drugs, which make a person more sensitive to the sun: trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim and Septra); sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin); tolbutamide (Orinase); sulfasalazine (Azulfidine); diuretics
  • Sun-sensitizing tetracycline drugs: minocycline (Minocin)
  • Penicillin or other antibiotic drugs: amoxicillin (Amoxil); ampicillin (Ampicillin Sodium ADD-Vantage); cloxacillin (Cloxapen)
  • Infections - including the effects of Epstein-Barr virus
  • Cold or a viral illness
  • Exhaustion
  • Injury
  • Emotional stress, such as divorce, illness, death in the family or other life complications
  • Anything else that causes stress to the body such as surgery, physical harm, pregnancy or giving birth
  • Smoking.


Though there is no cure for lupus but individuals suffering with the disease can live a healthy and active life with effective treatment. 

Regarding first two lupus contributing factors - hormones and genetics - we can do a very little to avoid the disease. However, the environmental factors that play a role in the development of lupus can be put under check by adopting a healthy life style. 



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