When it comes to lupus causes, researchers unfortunately don't know what the exact causes are. They have come to believe that factors such as genetics, hormones, the environment, certain medications (for DILE only), and viruses all play a role in the development of the disease.
- It has been found that individuals that have a family history of Lupus or other autoimmune diseases are more likely to develop the disease than the general population, indicating a predisposition.
- There is also believed to be a very strong genetic material link, which in our case appears to be true.
- Lupus has also been found to be more common in African Americans and individuals with Japanese or Chinese descent.
For a long time Lupus has been thought of as a womenÕs disease, and for good reason.
- Women have been found to be 8 times more likely than men to develop Lupus, suggesting a link to hormones.
- Women of child bearing age (between the ages of 15 and 45), make up about 90% of Lupus patients.
- Women living with Lupus symptoms worsen before their menstrual periods.
However, much new research is being conducted into the role that sex hormones, both male and female play in the development of Lupus. It is a mistake to think of Lupus as a health concern for women alone.
- Yes, 90% of lupus patients between the ages of 15 and 45 are women. However, it has been found that after the age of 50(average age of menopause) the percentage of women with Lupus falls to 75% and the percentage of men with the disease rises to 25%.
- It also has been shown that men tend to develop Lupus at a later age than women and have more severe kidney, nerve and blood vessel disease.
- For those that develop Lupus before puberty 1 in 3 will be boys.
- For those that develop Lupus in their teens 1 in 10 will be boys.
Many studies are being conducted now on aging male Lupus patients.
Researchers are also investigating environmental factors that may play a role, or trigger the disease. Areas being investigated include:
- Exposure to ultraviolet light
- Toxins such as Trichloroethylene (industrial solvent) and silica dust
Below is a list of medications believed to cause Drug Induced Lupus Erythematosus or DILE.
- Alferon N
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
- Hydralazine (Apresoline)
- Inerferon Alfa
- Intron A
- Isoniazid (INH)
- Methyldopa (Aldornet)
- Phenytoin (Dilantin)
- Procainamide (Procan, Pronestyle)
- Quinidine (Quinaglute)
- Some anti-seizure medications
Researchers believe that Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), the culprit behind mononucleosis (Mono) can trigger the development of Lupus in those predisposed to the disease. However, much more research needs to be done in this area. In our case, our son was estimated based on blood work to be about 6 weeks into recovery form EBV shortly before his diagnosis of Lupus. That places the onset of his symptoms of Lupus around the same time he came down with EB
Lupus truly is a disease that seems to bring up more questions than it answers.
Some Information derived from the following websites and literature; The Lupus foundation of America, Lupus Foundation of Minnesota, Lupus Research Institute, American College of Rheumatology, and various other websites.