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Lupus risk factors  


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Lupus is chronic autoimmune disease i.e. your immune cells attack the healthy cells of your body mistakenly considering them as foreign objects. There are different types of lupus of which systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is most commonly dealt with. The symptoms and severity of the disease differ from one patient to another, nonetheless there are several triggers or flares or risk factors that contribute to development of lupus. We have explained them below:


Risk factors for lupus

Ethnicity or Race

This is one of the most important risk factors for lupus and is more prevalent among African Americans- they are at 3 times greater risk than white people. The next groups are Hispanics and Asians. Since lupus is a multigenic disease, several genes contribute to development of lupus. Apart from that, socio economic concerns of Africa also contribute to development of lupus.

Gender and Age: 90% of lupus infected cases are found to occur in women. Thus, men are at lesser risk of having lupus.

It develops mostly during the childbearing age i.e. between 15 to 45 years. However, young girls of African American origin might also get lupus.


Family history of lupus

Family history plays an important role in development of lupus. A brother or sister or relative if has lupus then chances of you getting lupus are comparatively higher.


Side effects of medicines

Case history of patients and research has shown that lupus could be a side effect of medicines as well which specifically include procainamide, hydralazine, methyldopa, isoniazid, etc. However, stopping these drugs might cure the disease as it’s a reversible condition in this case.


Viral infection

Research studies have linked infection of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV- causes mononucleosis) with development of lupus. Furthermore, this trigger is mostly found in African American women. EBV infection is chronic and it most likely develops at 40 years of age affecting the immune system of your body. As a consequence, the infected individual might get lupus.


Cigarette Smoking

Smoking could be a trigger factor for lupus although there no strong evidence to support it. Women who smoke and have gotten lupus must call for a quite because it further makes them vulnerable to kidney and lung disease.

Women who are under stress and resort to smoking as a means to get away with it are also vulnerable because stress is also a trigger factor for lupus.


Hormonal trigger for lupus

Doctors link the hormone – oestrogen with lupus disease. Two theories have been put forth in the perspective- oestrogen is contained in birth control pills and oestrogen replacement therapy in post menopausal women. The former is a major risk factor for women in their child bearing years and the latter could be a possibility of getting lupus at an advanced age.


Environmental triggers for lupus

Apart from the aforementioned risk factors, environment could also play a major role in development of lupus. They are:

Chemicals: Patient histories reveal that fact that chemical like trichloroethylene (occur mostly in well water) and silica dust might trigger this autoimmune disease.

Sunlight: Over exposure to the hash UV rays of the sun damages the cells of the skin. It only causes skin cancer but also is a significant reason for developing lupus.

Others: Cold environmental conditions and exposure to fluorescence and halogen lights. 

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: September 28, 2014

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