Lupus Symptoms & Causes Part 1

Table of contents for Lupus

  1. Lupus Symptoms & Causes Part 1
  2. Natural Lupus Treatment and Lifestyle Changes Part 2

What is Lupus?

Lupus is a condition that affects about 5 million people worldwide, 1.5 million of those being in the USA alone. 70% of those cases are systemic lupus; in half of the SLE cases, major organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, or brain are affected.(1) As Lupus is an autoimmune disease of unknown origin with no effective treatment, we are going to first take a look at the basics: its effect on the body, lupus symptoms, possible causes, and “why” natural remedies. This is Part 1 of a 2 part post. In Part 2, we will cover suggested lifestyle changes to improve and possibly overcome the symptoms of Lupus.

What Does Lupus do in the Body?

Lupus an autoimmune disease; it compromises the immune system, causing the body to attack healthy cells and tissues from within. There are many different types of Lupus, with no two people experiencing the same combination of symptoms.(2)

Symptoms of Lupus

The symptoms of Lupus vary greatly, depending on the type. Discoid lupus erythematosus is usually limited to effects on the skin while systemic lupus erythematosus attacks internal tissues. Hence the abbreviations DLE or SLE. SLE is then also divided into subgroups based on the severity of the disease. (5)

The symptoms of DLE are:

Chronic inflammation, sores, and scarring on the skin, including the face, scalp, ears, and body.

The non-organ-threatening type of SLE often has symptoms of:

severe fatigue, dyspnea, fever, swollen glands and joints, muscle and joint pain, and rashes or other skin conditions

The organ-threatening type has the same symptoms listed above, as well as negative affects on:

heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.(5)

According to information by Dr. Ray Sahelian, the most common initial lupus symptom is fatigue. Other main symptoms include fever, muscle and joint pain with or without joint swelling.(3)

Possible Causes or Triggers of Lupus

Though doctors are unsure of the causes of lupus, there are various theories that environment, hormones, and heredity are possible causes. (There is also a drug-induced form of lupus.) For instance, the condition is more common among women and within the African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American communities.(2)

However, it does appear that the following environmental factors trigger lupus:

  • viral or bacterial infections
  • certain prescription medications
  • excessive exposure to sunlight
  • estrogen
  • stress
  • various food items
  • aspartame (artificial sweetener)
  • silicone breast implants
  • mercury dental fillings
  • hair dye
  • toxic chemicals[3]

Oral contraceptives also appear to be a concern, due to the increased estrogen. Dr. Samy Suissa found out that the increased risk of developing lupus in connection with starting on the pill appears to be greatest in the first 3 months of use, and with first and second generation contraceptives which contain higher doses of estrogen.(3)

Diagnosing Lupus

Diagnosis is difficult as many of the symptoms are very similar to those in other diseases; this fact also hinders correct treatment as no one test can definitely diagnose lupus. For example, SLE can affect the lungs, developing inflammation in the lining, leading to pneumonia. Doctors often only treat the symptoms without finding the real cause. Another example is when lupus affects the kidneys; in this case, the only symptoms may be swollen ankles and an abnormal blood or urine reading.(4)

According to information by Dr. Ray Sahelian, before a patient can be classified with SLE, the severest form of the disease, at least 4 of these 11 disorders must be present:

Malar rash, discoid rash, photosensitivity, oral ulcers, arthritis, serositis, renal disorder, neurologic disorder, hematologic disorder, immunologic disorder, antinuclear antibodies.(3)


Why Natural Treatments?

After it is diagnosed, lupus is treated with corticosteroids.(4) Due to the desire of lowering the risk of adverse side effects and the lack of an actual cure, the consideration of natural treatments are a rational option. This is a well worded explanation from

With conventional medicine failing to make any significant breakthroughs, it is both appropriate and rational to determine if alternative medicine can make contributions to fill the void. At the present time, the use of vitamins, minerals, dietary fatty acids, and the elimination of symptom-inducing foods show great promise as possible treatment options for SLE. Alternatives to conventional therapy treatments are becoming more popular due to the inability to find a cure for SLE and a growing desire for a treatment plan carrying a lower risk of adverse side effects.(5)

In Part 2 of this post, we will cover research results for benefical natural supplements and lifestyle change. Implementing healthy diet, body cleansing, exercise and natural supplements are promising options for the improvement of lupus by strengthening the immune system and lessoning the risk of other disease by better overall health.

1. Statistics from
2. Lupus Remedies by Natural Cures
3. Lupus Alternative Treatment by
4. Natural Treatment of Lupus by
5. Natural Medicine and Lupus by

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