Sample Admission Essay on Systemic Lupus Erythematous

Systemic Lupus Erythematous

Occurrence

Systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder with a worldwide occurrence. However, women are more likely to be affected than men, with young women in reproductive years being the easy target (Bertsias, Cervera & Boumpas, 2012). SLE occurs when the immune system, the body’s defense, releases antibodies that attack the body’s healthy tissues. In the US, SLE prevalence is estimated to be around 51%, where 60% of the patients are aged between 16 and 55 years. The disease is more frequent in urban areas as opposed to the rural areas

Etiology

The genetic factors and environmental components have been reported to be the major causes of SLE. Each of these factors results in an irreversible break of the immunological strength. For example, siblings living with SLE patients are more likely to develop the disease compared to those living with unaffected siblings. Empirically, genes are associated with inflammation and flares (Gladman, Ibanez & Urowitz, 2002). Similarly, environmental factors such as ultraviolet light, drugs, and infectious viruses cause SLE. Direct sunlight is the most common environmental factor that exacerbates SLE. For example, EBV has been reported as a potential factor in promoting the development of lupus. Certain drugs, such as hydralazine, have been identified to trigger drug-induced lupus. Hormonal factors, such as the use of oral contraceptives affect autoimmune development, especially in women.

Effects of SLE

The peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system are the most affected, causing high morbidity and mortality rates. Few studies have linked SLE with headache, but severe headache and fever are, in some instances, red-flag signs of the disease. The most common abnormalities associated with SLE include the unusual thickening of the aortic and mitral valves. Other symptoms include heart failure, stroke, and peripheral embolism (Bertsias, Cervera & Boumpas, 2012). Cases of valve replacement are more common in SLE patients and higher in individuals suffering from the vulvar disease. Plevritis pain is also common in approximately 50% of SLE patients. Acute lupus causes interstitial lung disease, which is manifested in the form of cough. Abdominal pains followed by nausea and vomiting are witnessed in over 20% of SLE patients.

Diagnosis and Treatment of SLE

The antinuclear antibodies (ANA) test is recommended for SLE diagnosis due to its simplicity and sensitivity levels. Healthy individuals may test positive for ANA since the formation of ANAs depends on age. For example, approximately 25% of individuals aged 65 years and above have ANAs, but the concentration is lower compared to SLE patients (Pisetsky, Gilkeson & Clair, 1997). Although the current methods of treatment of the disease have dramatically increased the survival rates for SLE patients, the signs may remain up to five years after treatment. 30% of SLE deaths are caused by infections since the vulnerability to infections increases due to immune system dysfunction.

Preventive Measures

Given that SLE is associated with many clinical manifestations, such as fever, nausea, and vomiting, early scanning, tests, and aggressive investigation is necessary. Although drugs can control lupus, there are many lifestyle factors that can reduce the chances of developing SLE. Eating a healthy diet, having regular and balanced exercises, and keeping away from tobacco can reduce the risk of developing SLE. Identifying the causes of flare-ups and finding ways to manage them or avoiding them altogether is another preventive measure (Aparicio-Soto, Sánchez-Hidalgo & Alarcón-de-la-Lastra, 2017). The obvious causes of flare-ups include exposure to direct sunlight having too little or no rest, stress, and infections.

References

Aparicio-Soto, M., Sánchez-Hidalgo, M., & Alarcón-de-la-Lastra, C. (2017). An update on diet and nutritional factors in systemic lupus erythematosus management. Nutrition research reviews, 30(1), 118-137.

Bertsias, G., Cervera, R., & Boumpas, D. T. (2012). Systemic lupus erythematosus: pathogenesis and clinical features. EULAR Textbook on rheumatic diseases, 5, 476-505.

Gladman, D. D., Ibanez, D., & Urowitz, M. B. (2002). Systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity index 2000. The Journal of rheumatology, 29(2), 288-291.

Pisetsky, D. S., Gilkeson, G., & Clair, E. W. S. (1997). Systemic lupus erythematosus: diagnosis and treatment. Medical Clinics, 81(1), 113-128.