- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects various organ systems in the body, including the skin, joints, kidneys, and nervous system.
- In an individual with a healthy immune system, their body will usually produce antibodies that fight off antigens such as viruses and bacteria. However, in people with lupus, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own healthy tissues, leading to inflammation, tissue damage, and pain via the production of auto-antibodies – antibodies that target the body’s own tissue.
- Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that specifically targets connective tissue – a type of tissue that is found throughout the body in every organ.
- It is estimated that 1 in 2000 people in the United States have SLE, and it is more common in women than in men.
The symptoms of SLE can vary quite drastically from person to person, and they may come and go over time.
Some common symptoms include:
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain and swelling
- Skin rashes – including a butterfly-shaped rash on the face that spreads across the cheeks and nose
- Kidney problems
- Hair loss
- Dry eyes
- Sensitivity to light including sunlight
SLE can also cause inflammation in various organs, leading to symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, headaches, and issues with the functioning of those organs.
Testing and Diagnosis
There is no single test that can make a conclusive diagnosis of SLE. A physician will typically use a combination of blood tests and imaging studies, as well as certain physical exams to come to a diagnosis.
Some of the blood tests used to diagnose SLE are:
- Antinuclear antibody (ANA) test
- Anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) test
- Complete blood count (CBC) test.
The exact cause of SLE is not known, but studies suggest that it may be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors
Certain risk-factors increase a person’s chance of developing Lupus such as a family history of the disease, exposure to certain chemicals, and infections.
There is also a type of of drug-induced Lupus.
SLE can lead to a variety of complications due to the fact that the condition can cause inflammation is various organs. This can lead to damage to the including kidneys, heart and brain. SLE also raises one’s risk for infections, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer.
There are several different types of SLE, including cutaneous lupus, which only targets the skin, and drug-induced lupus, which is caused by certain medications. SLE can affect different organ in different ways, leading to variations in symptoms it produces. This way the condition presents plays a strong role in determining the treatment options.
Some studies have suggested that fish oil and vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial for people with SLE.
Fish oil is a popular supplement that is commonly used for reducing inflammation, improving cognitive and metabolic health, treating certain psychiatric conditions and more. It is rich is omega-3 essential fatty acids which are crucial for health.
In multiple clinical trials, Fish oil supplementation was associated with a significant improvement in disease activity and endothelial function as well as a reduction of oxidative stress in patients with SLE (1).
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that is responsible for a long list of highly important functions in the body from mineral metabolism to immune function. It tends to be deficient in a very large part of the population. Its deficiency has been linked to numerous illnesses including certain autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
In a clinical trial, Vitamin D supplementation significantly decreased disease activity and improved fatigue in patients with SLE (2)
Ayurveda for Lupus
In Ayurvedic medicine, there are numerous options for managing autoimmune conditions. Some of the most popular herbal supplements such as Turmeric, Boswellia, Ashwagandha, Holy Basil, Tribulus, and Triphala all come from Ayurvedic medicine. In clinical research, Ayurvedic herbs and Ayurvedic treatment protocols have been found to be highly effective in a wide-range of autoimmune conditions such as Hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes Type 1, Aloepecia Areata, Vitiligo, Ulcerative Colitis and more.
In one clinical trial, Ayurvedic treatment resulted in a marked improvement of symptoms such as pain, oral ulcers and malar rash in patients with SLE (3)
Ayurvedic management should always be done with the supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor.
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(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
by Dr. Nishal R.
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