Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

If we talk about “Pumpuang disease”, I am sure that everybody in Thai society must be very familiar with it as a disease which caused Miss Pumpuang Duangjan, a very famous country folk singer of Thailand, her life. In this article, we will be talking about this Puampuang disease or as medically called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). What is the cause of this disease? What are its symptoms? And what criteria are used to indicate that a person has SLE, we will explain it all here.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) (a.k.a. autoimmune disease) is a disease caused by the dysfunction of our autoimmune system. Rather than acting against foreign substances from outside the body, the dysfunction autoimmune decided to acting against or destroys the cells of various organs in its own body, which cause inflammation in any (or every) organ of the body. Organ inflammation often occurs to the skin, joints, kidneys, blood system, nervous system, etc. One of its dominant features is that the exacerbation will come once in a while alternate with the calm. In some cases the symptoms are very minimal or there are no symptoms at all, but for some the symptoms can be severe to life.

Cause of SLE is still imprecise. However, the medical profession believes that there are certain factors involved with the occurrence of SLE as follows:

  1. Gender, Genetic and Race as SLE was found in female more than male (9: 1) in the age range of 20-45 years. The medical profession also found that the testosterone, in particular the estrogen, is associated with the occurrence and the severity of the disease. Relatives of the person who has SLE are more likely have the disease, especially the female relatives. In part of the race, the incidence of SLE was found in blacks and yellows more than whites, especially in East Asian.
  2. Environment such as Ultraviolet rays in sunlight or chemicals encourage the occurrence and the exacerbation of the disease. Even a viral or bacterial infection can also encourage the exacerbation. However, there is still no recovery on what virus or bacteria cause the disease.
  3. Stress, both physically and mentally, including lack of sleep and working strenuously can also encourage the exacerbation of SLE.
  4. Dysfunction of the immune system by having reaction to its own antigen resulting as the formation of the antibody, which causes the occurrence of many diseases. Some of which will attach to its own antigen creating Immune Complex disease and go to different organs and different parts of our body causing inflammation and tissue damage subsequently.

Patients will be diagnosed with SLE when having 4 of the following 11 symptoms:

1) Having a feverish of about 38 degree Celsius for many days

2) Have red rashes on their face, cheekbones and nose that is similar to Malar rash

3) Have mouth wound which is similar to canker sores with slow recovery rate

4) Have Discoid Lesion

5) Have the symptom of Arthritis in many joints and equally appear in both side of the body

6) Allergic to sunlight

7) Inflammation of the serous type lining such as Pleurisy and Pericarditis

8) Have certain symptoms in blood system such as Hemolytic anemia, low leukocyte, and low platelet

9) Have Neurological symptoms such as seizures and depression with no explanation

10) Received positive result from Antinuclear Antibody Blood Test

11) Received positive result in the blood test of finding Anti – DNA, LE cell, Anti – Sm, or received positive result in VDRL

Though the practical fact about SLE is not easy, but it is also not too hard to understand. If we pay enough attention in taking care of our health and our body, SLE can be early detected and we are able to avoid certain factors which encourage the occurrence or severity of the disease. Therefore, if you suspect that you might have SLE, you could initially diagnose it yourself. Nevertheless, we recommend that it is best to consult with the medical specialist, together with having the laboratory analysis.

Thank you and see you again in the next article

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