Systemic lupus erythematosus facts
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease.
- SLE is characterized by the production of unusual antibodies in the blood.
- SLE is eight times more common in women than men.
- The cause(s) of SLE is (are) unknown, however, heredity, viruses, ultraviolet light, and drugs all may play some role.
- Up to 10% of people with lupus isolated to the skin will develop the systemic form of lupus (SLE).
- Eleven criteria help doctors to diagnose SLE.
- Treatment of SLE is directed toward decreasing inflammation and/or the level of autoimmune activity.
- People with SLE can prevent “flares” of disease by avoiding sun exposure and not abruptly discontinuing medications and monitoring their condition with their doctor.
What is systemic lupus erythematosus? What are the types of lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease characterized by acute and chronic inflammation of various tissues of the body. Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when the body’s tissues are attacked by its own immune system. The immune system is a complex system within the body that is designed to fight infectious agents, such as bacteria and other foreign microbes. One of the ways that the immune system fights infections is by producing antibodies that bind to the microbes. People with lupus produce abnormal antibodies in their blood that target tissues within their own body rather than foreign infectious agents. These antibodies are referred to as autoantibodies.
Because the antibodies and accompanying cells of inflammation can affect tissues anywhere in the body, lupus has the potential to affect a variety of areas. Sometimes lupus can cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, and/or nervous system. When only the skin is involved, the condition is called lupus dermatitis or cutaneous lupus erythematosus. A form of lupus dermatitis that can be isolated to the skin, without internal disease, is called discoid lupus. When internal organs are involved, the condition is referred to as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Both discoid lupus and systemic lupus are more common in women than men (about eight times more common). The disease can affect all ages but most commonly begins from 20-45 years of age. Statistics demonstrate that lupus is somewhat more frequent in African Americans and people of Chinese and Japanese descent
Home Remedies for Lupus (SLE)
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own connective tissue. This causes inflammation and damage to the skin and other organs, and leads to more and more varied infections. Lupus is most frequently a disease of women in their thirties and forties. Genetic factors play a role. In a predisposed person, environmental factors such as a latent viral infection, the use of certain drugs, exposure to ultraviolet light, or bodily injury can provoke the onset of the disease. Please refer to the bottom of this page for home remedies lupus.
Chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus, or discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), is a form of the condition in which only the skin is involved. Lupus is generally much less severe than SLE, which can affect not only the skin, but also the kidneys, blood vessels, eyes, lungs, nerves, and joints. Another form of the disease, subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE), is midway in severity between IDLE and SLE. People with SCLE have a psoriasis-like skin rash and may also have joint pains and some blood-count abnormalities. However, they do not have the very serious problems that SLE sufferers can develop.
Typical lesions of Lupus are sharply defined red, scaly patches across the cheeks, nose, and outer ear canals. Other small red, scaly patches may also be seen on sun-exposed sites, such as the arms, legs, scalp, and upper body. Often there are also prominent blood vessels and large follicular openings in these patches. The lesions expand, become white and slightly sunken in the center, and heal with scarring and darkened or lightened pigmentation.
The rash is more common in the summer months, as it tends to flare up in response to sun exposure. Other factors that can make the rash worse include local trauma, menstruation, fatigue, and illness. Persons with Lupus may also suffer from oral and nasal ulcers and permanent hair loss.
Home remedies Lupus
Home remedies Lupus #1: Anti-inflammatory herbs that can help to calm the inflammation of lupus include the following:
Home remedies Lupus #2: Pine bark extract. Take 50 milligrams twice a day
Home remedies Lupus #3: Grapeseed extract. Take 50 milligrams twice a day
Nutritional Therapy for Lupus Erythematosus
Diet can aggravate the symptoms of lupus or contribute to its onset. Treatment may call for dietary alterations and supplementation for any nutrient deficiencies. Food allergies and sensitivities have been implicated as a possible trigger of the disease. Many believe alfalfa sprouts are a common trigger of lupus symptoms; people who have had lupus symptoms may want to avoid eating alfalfa sprouts. An elimination diet can help to identify any other culprits. Here’s how an elimination diet works:
- For two to three weeks, the patient’s commonly eaten foods are eliminated from the diet. Common food allergens (such as wheat, eggs, milk, peanuts, and corn) are also avoided.
- If symptoms have subsided or not appeared by the end of this period, then the food challenges can begin. If the symptoms are still present, then more foods should be eliminated from the diet.
- Every two days, reintroduce (one at a time) the commonly eaten foods and common food allergens that you eliminated, noting if any symptoms appear.
- Continue in this fashion with the other foods.
It should be noted that lupus symptoms can go into remission for weeks or years. Linking a remission to an avoided food allergen may take some detective work.
Hydrochloric acid deficiency also has been linked with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The stomach normally secretes this strong acid, which helps digest proteins. If indicated by a practitioner, supplements in capsule form can be taken with meals.
A low-protein diet is often prescribed to treat people with lupus, as a large amount of protein may be harmful for several reasons:
- It can tax weakened kidneys. (Half of the people with lupus have kidney disorders.)
- It has the ability to rob calcium from the bones. (People with lupus are often at higher risk for osteoporosis because of the drugs they take and their instructions to avoid the sun.)
- It may tax the immune system.
The ideal diet, in addition to being low in protein, should be low in fat and high in green leafy vegetables, such as bok choy, collard greens, and kale. These vegetables may help people with lupus to metabolize estrogen better.
Supplements may also be prescribed, including vitamin B6, vitamin C, and essential fatty acids. Vitamin E, taken orally and applied to the skin, can help heal the skin rashes that sometimes accompany lupus. Supplements are often recommended instead of trying to get the vitamin from food sources because most of the food sources of vitamin E (such as vegetable oils) contain a lot of fat. Fish oil, especially EPA, is another effective supplement.
There has been research to show that SLE patients have lower than normal stomach acid levels. Supplements of hydrochloric acid and vitamin B complex can bring about improvement (J Immuno, 1984; 133(1): 222-6). Since essential fatty acids have an anti inflammatory effect, supplementing your diet with omega-3 derived from fish oils can help reduce the inflammation which often characterizes the disease. Omega-6 fatty acids, found in evening primrose oil, borage oil or blackcurrent seed oil, have also been used with some success (Nutrition and Healing, 1995; 2(12): 12).
Vitamin B6 is known to block the toxic effects of certain drugs and chemicals that cause lupus, so if you are on medication, or being weaned off it, supplements can help to ease symptoms. Large doses of vitamin B6 can in themselves be toxic and should be administered under the guidance of a competent practitioner (see Alan Gaby, B6: The Natural Healer, Keats).
You may also have a “leaky” gut which is allowing excess food molecules to find their way into your blood system. This should be investigated and remedied.
Alfalfa seeds and sprouts (but not the mature tops), and juice can both produce lupus like symptoms and aggravate existing lupus (Science, 1982; 216: 415-7; N Eng J Med, 1983; 308: 1361), so these should be eliminated from your diet.
You may need to invest in a reverse osmosis water purifier if you live in a heavily fluoridated area. You will need to reduce or cut out altogether your intake of tea and soft drinks. Drink herbal tea made with non fluoridated water instead. Switch to a non fluoride toothpaste even Boots produce them these days!) Wash all fruit and vegetables, since pesticides contain fluoride.
South African pennywort has a good track record in treating SLE. It is important that you use the African subspecies of SA pennywort, since other varieties do not have the same chemical constituents.
The root of Tripterygium wilfordi may be beneficial in both DLE and SLE though care should be exercised in children and adults of reproductive age since its use may lead to impaired sperm production and cessation of menstrual periods.
Both side effects may eventually disappear when the treatment is discontinued. The glycoside extract of the root is less likely to produce harmful reproductive side effects (J Trad Chin Med, 1983; 3(2): 131-2; Chin Med, 1981; 94: 827-34).
Cistus canadensis can help SLE skin eruptions, although the usual remedy of choice is Thuja.
Another study has shown that nux vomica (both alone and in combination with other remedies) has as high as an 80 per cent success rate (J of Liga Medic Homoeo Inter, 1987; 2(1): 27-31).
High levels of stress can affect the course of autoimmune diseases (Ann Intern Med, 1992; 117: 854-66), so it may be prudent to take up meditation, yoga or any other pastime which allows you to switch off for a while.