Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Symptoms And Treatment

What is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)?

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder, with symptoms in a variety of organs. It is distinguished from other variants of lupus erythematosus that remain confined to the skin.


The disease is uncommon in Western countries (6 to 7 per 100,000 people). It is more common in women than in men (ratio 9: 1) and can begin at any age, although particularly adolescent and young adult women are more often affected. It can occur secondary to specific medication use. 90% of patients with SLE has joint problems which, however, are distinct from the joint in rheumatoid arthritis by the fact that there is no erosion formation occurs.


SLE resembles the type III hypersensitivity reactions, due to the formation of IgG antibodies by plasma cells, against so-called free auto-antigens (molecules encoded by DNA). Here, small immune-complexes (antibodies which are bound to antigens) are formed which can not bind to complement. Complement is a system that is needed to clean up the immune complexes. The immune complexes are cleared and will not get stuck in the small blood vessels of organs such as those of the glomeruli of the kidneys. Also, they are deposited in the skin, causing the characteristic rash / red rash.

 It is distinguished from other variants of lupus erythematosus that remain confined to th Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Symptoms And Treatment

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Symptoms And Diagnosis

The disease is diagnosed based on symptoms and laboratory tests. In 1982, proposed the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for the classification of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. The ACR criteria are intended to define an unambiguous group of patients for medical research. In 1997 these criteria were revised. In practice, the disease is often diagnosed on the basis of these criteria. If at least four of the following 11 criteria are met, spoken of systemic lupus erythematosus:
  • vlinderexantheem (red rash on both cheeks overflowing on the nose, in the shape of a butterfly);
  • discoid lupus (erythematous (red) spots with hyperkeratosis (thickening of the skin)), for example, the butterfly-shaped rash on the face (the rash / rash / red areas are formed by the deposition of small immune complexes);
  • light sensitivity;
  • oral or nasopharyngeal ulcers (mouth / throat ulcers);
  • arthritis (inflammation of one or more joints);
  • serositis (pleurisy (inflammation of the pleura) / pericarditis (inflammation of pericardium));
  • kidney disease (proteinuria (protein in the urine), hematuria (blood in the urine), celcilinders);
  • neurological disorders (seizures (epilepsy), psychosis);
  • haematological disorders (haemolytic anemia, leucopenia (low white blood cell count), thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count));
  • ANA-positive serology (antinuclear antibodies);
  • immunologic abnormalities (anti-dsDNA +).
In addition, the blood count is checked, where there is often a normocytic anemia exists as an expression of chronic disease. Leucopenia (low white blood cells) occurs in 50% of the patients. The determination of the ANA is the most sensitive and specific for the determination of the diagnosis.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Treatment

Most patients are treated with NSAIDs given the arthritis symptoms. Prednisolone and cyclophosphamide are given less frequently, in severe infections, such as nephritis (inflammation of kidney tissue) or encephalitis (brain inflammation).

Alternative treatments focus on the removal of mercury amalgam fillings that can leak from that to which can accumulate in the body. In addition, these treatments focus on kwikdetoxificatie.


The course of the disease varies between patients. Usually exchange active periods alternate with periods of calm. It may also happen that the disease remains completely calm after a very active start. When the disease is in an active period, it is called a flare.

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