Identifying the Causes of Lupus – Getting to the Root of the Problem
While little is known about the exact causes of Lupus, scientists have been making breakthroughs in their research into the condition. A majority of the researchers have concluded that a combination of several factors may be to blame for the condition.
So, what could be behind this dreaded auto-immune disease?
Researchers have identified over 50 genes associated with Lupus. These genes are especially common among certain ethnic groups including Asians, Africans, Native Americans, and Latinos. Consequently, most of the people suffering from Lupus belong to these ethnic groups.
However, these genes are not entirely to blame for the condition. In fact, the condition is not hereditary like most other conditions associated with genetics.
Hormones take the brunt of the blame for Lupus. Scientists have particularly focused their research on the role of estrogen.
Interestingly, women make up nine of ten cases of Lupus. Coincidentally, women produce more estrogen than men. What’s more, cases of Lupus are more common among pregnant women and right before menstruation—coincidentally, the body produces higher levels of estrogen during pregnancy and before menstruation.
However, it is important to note that research into the role of hormones is inconclusive. Consequently, there is more research being conducted into the role of other hormones and the differences in hormonal production between men and women.
Side effects associated with certain medications have been blamed for Lupus. In particular, certain antibiotics, anti-seizure, and blood pressure medications have been directly associated with Lupus. Fortunately, symptoms of Lupus cease when one stops taking these medications.
Biomarkers are molecules that reflect a body’s pathological and biological processes. Physicians rely on biomarkers to determine or predict a patient’s condition. Scientists now believe that certain biomarkers may cause Lupus.
For starters, the proteins in urine of patients of renal disease—which are biomarkers for renal disease—have been associated with Lupus. Other biomarkers under study include C-Reactive Protein—a biomarker for cardiovascular disease—and anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies. So far, these biomarkers have been the most promising leads in scientists’ research into the causes of Lupus.
- Environmental Factors
A diverse array of environmental factors may also be to blame for Lupus. They include chemicals, UVB sunrays, silica dust, and viruses. However, most of these factors are not sufficient to cause Lupus on their own—they function as triggers for other underlying factors such as genetics and infections.
Managing and Overcoming Lupus
Research into Lupus has helped not only in identifying its causes but also coming up with treatments. To this end, there are several drugs, therapies, and Lupus supplements that make the condition more manageable.