Systemic lupus erythematosus occurs when the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues. It can cause inflammation in different parts of the body, though in most cases only a few of the possible symptoms appear. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system produces antibodies that invade the tissues of the body and cause inflammation. SLE usually affects the skin and joints, but can also affect the heart or kidneys when the symptoms are severe.
Lupus infects women almost 8 to 10 times more often than men. In most cases, the symptoms first appear in women of childbearing age (usually 18-45 years). However, Lupus can also occur in young children or older people. It occurs more frequently in black people and in groups of Asians, North Americans, and Indians than in white people.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Symptoms
The most common symptoms of the disease are:
- Joint pain
- Red rash on face, neck, hands
- Red rash on nose and cheeks
- Excessive fatigue
- Weight loss
- Oral ulcers (flatulence)
- Hair loss
- Inflation of lymph nodes
- Change finger color when cold (Raynaud effect)
Chronic, Autoimmune and Metabolic Disorders
What are the real causes? Find out how you can deal with them.
Other common symptoms of the disease include minor aches, anorexia, nausea and vomiting. There may be an increased tendency for infections, anemia or easy bleeding. Anemia is due to a decrease in red blood cells, causing weakness, paleness or even shortness of breath (difficulty breathing). Some people with lupus have an increased tendency for blood clots.
Other common symptoms include synovitis (inflammation of the mucosa of certain organs e.g., heart or lungs), causing pain symptoms breath or dyspnea. Often kidney problems occur. In the early stages, there may not be symptoms of kidney involvement. However, an edema(swelling) in the legs may appear if protein loss through urination is present.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – Causes
We do not know the causes of lupus. Doctors and scientists agree that it is an autoimmune disease. In the lupus, antibodies can form even without the presence of foreign substances such as bacteria. These antibodies are called autoantibodies because they attack the tissues of the body itself. This in turn, causes inflammation and damage to the tissues of the body itself and may result in symptoms which are characteristic of Lupus.
Some studies show that some people inherit the tendency to get Lupus. This conclusion comes from the fact that some new cases of Lupus may be more common in a family whose member already has the disease. However, there is no evidence that Lupus is transmitted directly, for example from a mother to a daughter. Some scientists believe that a virus can trigger the development of Lupus and the onset of symptoms in people with a genetic predisposition.
Some medications used for other conditions such as high blood pressure, certain heart problems, epilepsy and psychiatric problems such as acute depression can cause many of the symptoms of lupus. These symptoms almost always disappear with the discontinuation of the responsible medication.
But the real causes of the Disease are well hidden at the Cellular Level. The main causes of Chronic Diseases are related to reduced production or deficiency of enzymes, hormones and other essential elements of the human body’s combustion. All of these Deficiencies, Malfunctions, Bad Combustion, lead to biochemical aberration, the mechanisms and function of all human cells.
Diagnosis of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Diagnosing lupus can be difficult. This disease may mimic other conditions and often follows a different path to each person. Many people have symptoms for many years before the disease develops. It is necessary to make a lot of questions to record a complete medical history and a complete physical examination.
Then, some specialized tests, such as Bio 4h Examinations, Metabolic Analysis Profile should be performed that can accurately determine that this is a Disease.
The results of the tests help the doctor to assert that the disease Lupus is rather than other Diseases with similar symptoms
Other examinations, which are mainly performed but with questionable results are:
- Nuclear Antibody Detection (ANA) Test
About 95% of people with Lupus have positive ANA. However, the test can be positive for people who do not suffer from Lupus, so the diagnosis cannot be confirmed.
- Double-stranded Anti-DNA (Anti-dsDNA) Antibody Screening
About 75% of people suffering from Lupus have these antibodies. If the test is positive, it means that the person may sicken for Lupus. During a Lupus exacerbation the antibody levels are increased and thus the test should be repeated to monitor the disease and adapt the conventional therapy.
- Screening for anti-Ro antibody detection
If the test is positive, there is a greater chance that patients develop skin rashes or become affected by Sjögren’s syndrome. Antibodies may pass through the placenta during pregnancy. In women who are carriers and decide to have a baby, pregnancy should be monitored much more closely.
- Antiphospholipid antibody detection
If the test is positive, the risk of miscarriage or thrombosis is increased.
- Complement level measurement
The supplement refers to a group of proteins in the blood that protect against infection. The levels are usually very low when Lupus is in exacerbation.
- Red sedimentation rate (ESC)
This test measures inflammation. The ESR is usually high in people who suffer from lupus.
- Kidney and liver functional examinations
They include blood and urine tests. They are frequent, so that problems caused by disease or drugs are recognized and treated promptly.
- General Blood test
Hemoglobin, white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets are created in the bone marrow. Measurements indicate whether the bone marrow has been affected by the disease or by the medications administered. Moreover the exams help to monitor the disease after diagnosis. There are several tests to check for functionality of the heart, lungs, liver and spleen. Depending on the organs the doctor believes that have been affected, the patient may be subjected to x-rays, ultrasound, CT or MRI. Also, a urine test can show whether there is protein or blood in the urine. Thus, the doctor can detect early if there is a kidney problem. Further tests may be needed, such as glomerular filtration tests, and more.
Additional examinations include chest x-rays (for the heart and lungs), electrocardiograms and ultrasound for the heart, functional lung examinations, electroencephalograms (EEGs), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or other tomography for the brain and possibly other biopsies. One of the problems of diagnosis is that there is not a single symptom group, disease form or test group for all patients with lupus.
Nutrition and Lupus Erythematosus
According to scientific data, a diet low in saturated fat and a fish oil supplementation(fish body) may prove useful. However, caution is advised in exclusion diets that eliminate the consumption of major food groups. Lupus is an active autoimmune disease, which is why all the nutrients that a balanced diet offers are needed. Patients should consult a nutritionist for more specific information.
Treatment of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Medications commonly used to reduce symptoms are the following: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs used to control arthritis pain. They are usually administered for a short period of time with the dose gradually reduced as the arthritis improves.
Aspirin is included in this category and helps treat stiffness of joints but only when used as specified. All may cause with stomach irritation or other side effects such as dizziness and diarrhea. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can damage the liver or alter kidney function which is usually restored by stopping or lowering the dose.
Anti-malignant medicines formerly used for malaria are used to treat photosensitive skin rashes.
Glucocorticosteroids (cortisone) such as prednisone are used to reduce inflammation and suppress immune system activity. They are the main treatment and their side effects include weight gain, rounding of the face, the appearance of bruises, mood swings from insomnia to depression, fluid retention resulting in foot swelling, high blood pressure , the onset or worsening of diabetes mellitus, the increased risk of infections, and rarely the occurrence of gastrorrhea. Using them for a long time can cause osteoporosis and cataracts.
Immunosuppressive drugs, which are almost always taken with corticosteroids, as they are used only for active ailments, especially with severe kidney problems. Their use mainly relates to people who have not responded to other medications or have lowered their corticosteroid dose. Generally these drugs have serious side effects.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus healing the Causes
The key to treatment is deep inside the cell and its mechanisms. Specific Molecular and Genetic tests, which until a few years ago were unavailable, are now in our quiver.
By taking a blood or urine sample at the first appointment, which is sent to specialized microbiological laboratories mainly in the United States with which we cooperate, we can discover the factors and causes that caused the disease. The total duration of the first visit is approximately one and a half hours and includes a specialized Multi-page Individual Medical History as well as documentation of your eating habits and preferences.
After approximately 3 weeks and after careful analysis of the lab tests results, we can employ specific Micro – and Macro Nutrients protocols, along with molecular nutrition to balance calories intake.
In addition Biomimetic Hormone Therapies and toxic load removal protocols complete the overall treatment.
Treatments in Autoimmune Diseases can be applied individually or in combination, in the opinion of a physician experienced in Functional Medicine.
The biochemical aberration that leads to the “mutation” of the cells, so that they are eventually recognized as “foreign cells” by the Immune System and eventually develop any Autoimmune Diseases, can be treated with specific therapies with an average duration of six to twelve months.
These therapies are, successfully implemented the last twenty years and do not oppose any other parallel pharmaceutical or homeopathic treatment.
Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease recede from the first months of treatment. The overview and health levels improve overall. Patients additionally apply the instructions given at the end of treatment, can reduce any chances of relapse to a minimum.
A proper treatment is the one that generates the greatest benefits for the health and wellbeing of patients. Benefits, which are documented by relevant test markers and clinical results.
Dr. Nikoleta Koini, M.D.
Doctor of Functional, Preventive and Regenerative Medicine
Diplomate and Board Certified in Anti-aging, Preventive, Functional and Regenerative Medicine from A4M (American Academy in Antiaging Medicine).
- Autoimmune diseases. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Last reviewed May 2, 2017. Accessed June 4, 2020. https://www.niaid.nih.gov/
- Hood E. Measuring autoimmunity in America. Environmental Factor. Published April 2018. Accessed June 4, 2020. https://factor.niehs.nih.gov/
- Autoimmune diseases. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Last Reviewed May 6, 2020. Accessed June 4, 2020. https://www.niehs.nih.gov/
health/topics/conditions/ autoimmune/index.cfm – footnote1
- Marker of autoimmunity increases in the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Published April 21, 2020. Accessed August 19, 2020. https://www.nih.gov/news-
events/nih-research-matters/ marker-autoimmunity-increases- us
- Roberts MH, Erdei E. Comparative United States autoimmune disease rates for 2010-2016 by sex, geographic region, and race. Autoimmun Rev. 2020;19(1):102423. doi:10.1016/j.autrev.2019.
- The Autoimmune Diseases Coordinating Committee. Progress in Autoimmune Diseases Research: Report to Congress. National Institutes of Health; 2005. Accessed August 31, 2020. https://www.niaid.nih.gov/
- Somers EC, Marder W, Cagnoli P, et al. Population-based incidence and prevalence of systemic lupus erythematosus: the Michigan Lupus Epidemiology and Surveillance program. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014;66(2):369-378. doi:10.1002/art.38238
- Ramos PS, Shedlock AM, Langefeld CD. Genetics of autoimmune diseases: insights from population genetics. J Hum Genet. 2015;60(11):657-664. doi:10.1038/jhg.2015.94
- Dinse GE, Parks CG, Weinberg CR, et al. Increasing prevalence of antinuclear antibodies in the United States. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2020;72(6):1026-1035. doi:10.1002/art.41214
- American College of Rheumatology. Antinuclear antibodies (ANA). Updated March 2019. Accessed August 20, 2020. https://www.rheumatology.org/
I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/ Diseases-Conditions/ Antinuclear-Antibodies-ANA
- Aringer M, Costenbader K, Daikh D, et al. 2019 European League Against Rheumatism/American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for systemic lupus erythematosus. Ann Rheum Dis. 2019;78(9):1151-1159. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-
- Rösken GHJ, van Beek AA, Bakker-Jonges LE, Schreurs MWJ. Antinuclear antibodies in systemic autoimmune disease. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2020;164:D4066.
- Pérez D, Gilburd B, Cabrera-Marante Ó, et al. Predictive autoimmunity using autoantibodies: screening for anti-nuclear antibodies. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2018;56(10):1771-1777. doi:10.1515/cclm-2017-0241
- Bloch DB. Patient education: antinuclear antibodies (ANA) (beyond the basics). UpToDate. Updated December 18, 2019. Accessed August 28, 2020. https://www.uptodate.com/
contents/antinuclear- antibodies-ana-beyond-the- basics
- Tan EM, Feltkamp TE, Smolen JS, et al. Range of antinuclear antibodies in “healthy” individuals. Arthritis Rheum. 1997;40(9):1601-1611. doi:10.1002/art.1780400909
- Lyons R, Narain S, Nichols C, Satoh M, Reeves WH. Effective use of autoantibody tests in the diagnosis of systemic autoimmune disease. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005;1050:217-228. doi:10.1196/annals.1313.023
- Nancy AL, Yehuda S. Prediction and prevention of autoimmune skin disorders. Arch Dermatol Res. 2009;301(1):57-64. doi:10.1007/s00403-008-0889-3
- Ramos-Remus C, Castillo-Ortiz JD, Aguilar-Lozano L, et al. Autoantibodies in prediction of the development of rheumatoid arthritis among healthy relatives of patients with the disease. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2015;67(11):2837-2844. doi:10.1002/art.39297
- Rakieh C, Nam JL, Hunt L, et al. Predicting the development of clinical arthritis in anti-CCP positive individuals with non-specific musculoskeletal symptoms: a prospective observational cohort study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2015;74(9):1659-1666. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-
- Rose NR. Prediction and prevention of autoimmune disease in the 21st century: a review and preview. Am J Epidemiol. 2016;183(5):403-406. doi:10.1093/aje/kwv292
- Choi MY, Fritzler MJ. Autoantibodies in SLE: prediction and the pvalue matrix. Lupus. 2019;28(11):1285-1293. doi:10.1177/0961203319868531
- Mu Q, Kirby J, Reilly CM, Luo XM. Leaky gut as a danger signal for autoimmune diseases. Front Immunol. 2017;8:598. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.00598