According to the Lupus Foundation of America, at least 5 million people around the world have a type or form of lupus while in the USA about one and a half million people have to live with the condition. These numbers show that it is a common disease, but the sad thing is that most people do not even know what it is all about or what causes it.
The disease is described as a chronic ailment that affects the immune system, and it can lead to damages to different parts of the body including the internal organs. Lupus is an autoimmune condition which makes it hard for the body to differentiate between "alien invaders" and healthy tissues. Because of this fact, the immune system creates antibodies that end up damaging the healthy tissues while also causing pain and inflammation. Although lupus can affect anyone, scientists and doctors estimate that up to 90 percent of those that get the disease are women.
Scientists are yet to comprehend the exact cause of lupus and research is still ongoing. However, according to some experts, the disease will develop as the body responds to factors that are both inside and outside. Some of these factors that increase your likelihood of getting the disease include the following.
There is still no evidence that links a particular gene to lupus, but the fact that it often runs in families shows that it has something to do with genes. According to multiple surveys, you have an up to 13% increase in the likelihood of getting the condition if your parent or a sibling has it. Also, certain ethnic groups such as Asian and Hispanic are more likely to get the disease as they probably share more genes responsible for lupus.
Researchers believe that one has to come into contact with something in the surrounding environment that triggers lupus to get it. Some of the common environmental triggers are viruses and sunlight. The UV light from the Sun triggers lupus because the immune system responds by attacking the damaged skin cells and it can also make the symptoms worse. An infection can also trigger this ailment because the immune system will not stop attacking the healthy cells even after it defeats the infection.
Certain types of medications such as those for blood pressure and seizure and even some kinds of antibiotics can trigger lupus. These drugs trigger the condition by causing the immune system to overreact. Fortunately, according to the Mayo Clinic, people who have drug-induced lupus will usually see their symptoms vanish once they stop taking the medication.