As promised, today is #AskaQuestion Tuesday on Sheblossoms. You can leave your questions in the comments section for next week. Connect with me on Twitter @Sheblossoms.
Last week, we answered two main questions. What is Lupus? How do I Know I have Lupus? If you’d like to start there, check out last week’s post.
Today, we answer one question sent in by a member of the Sheblossoms Volunteer team.
Remember: Sheblossoms will not recommend a particular regiment of treatment or management. We will simply provide information to help you explore your options and hopefully make better decisions about your care or about how to support your loved one.
1. Can a Person living with one type of Lupus develop another type of Lupus Later? – Julie Muriuki (@mamayaimani)
As discussed last week, there are three main types of Lupus – Systemic Erymathotus (SLE), Discoid (Chronic Cutaneous Lupus) and Drug Induced. These three main types sometimes have sub categorization a which help doctors target the affected systems and give you better care. So you may have heard of Lupus Nephritis for example, which is when your kidneys are compromised by Lupus.
According to the John Hopkins Medicine page on Lupus, the term “chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus” refers to a specific form of lupus that is limited to the skin. This form of lupus can exist in people who do not have systemic lupus. However, five percent or more of the people with this form of lupus may develop SLE later in life. Three types of skin lupus exist: chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CCLE) (also known as Discoid Lupus Erythematosus [DLE]), subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE), and tumid lupus. A skin biopsy is usually obtained to diagnose skin lupus, and each form possesses its own characteristic lesions and pattern.
When lupus happens in New born babies and children, the classification receives another addendum, therefore you will often hear of neonatal Lupus and Childhood Lupus.
Figuring out why the answer is yes, to our question above takes us to two other questions.
A. What causes Lupus? Doctors haven’t quite figured out what exactly causes Lupus, but research has pointed to genetic predisposition and environmental factors.
The Lupus Foundation of America (excellent source of information, by the way) says: Many (but not all) scientists believe that lupus develops in response to a combination of factors both inside and outside the body, including hormones, genetics, and environment.
‘No gene or group of genes has been proven to cause lupus. Lupus does, however, appear in certain families, and certain genes have been identified as contributing to the development of lupus, but these associations alone are not enough to cause the disease. This is especially evident with twins who are raised in the same environment and have the same inherited features yet only one develops lupus. Although, when one of two identical twins has lupus, there is an increased chance that the other twin will also develop the disease (25 percent chance for identical twins; 2-3 percent chance for fraternal twins). Lupus can develop in people with no family history of lupus, but there are likely to be other autoimmune diseases in some family members.
Certain ethnic groups (people of African, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Island descent) have a greater risk of developing lupus, which may be related to genes they have in common.’
Environmental factors refers to viral or bacterial infections, medications, overexposure to the sun or UltraViolet rays, Injury, emotional stress, even pregnancy and childbirth. When combined with just the right genetic predisposition, these factors can trigger the onset of lupus or a relapse.
B. Is there a cure for Lupus? There is still no cure for Lupus (2016), but there are medication and therapy systems to manage the disease and if possible, keep symptoms away. In addition, some people experience long periods when the disease is not active.
So back to our question, can a person with one type of lupus develo another type of lupus?
Since the disease has some genetic predisposition component, it is possible that one having one type of lupus makes you also vulnerable to another type of lupus.
In addition, some medication, and the fact that during periods of disease flare your immune system is compromised, mean that you are more susceptible to developing complications which can present as another categorization of Lupus.
People who may have suffered neonatal or childhood lupus, may go through a long period of inactivity, then have a disease flare in the years typical for Lupus to trigger (15 -45). It may seem that the lupus is different since symptoms may be different as well as the categorization.
The basis of it is though, that Lupus in its varied forms is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease occurs when your body’s immune system turns against its own cells, tissue and organs as though they were a virus, bacteria or foreign object.
Please feel free to ask more questions in the comments section. We will be happy to answer your questions, and Where appropriate help you get information on doctors and organizations that can assist you.