One of the oddities concerning lupus is that the medical profession really does not know what the cause of it is. There are theories and there are conclusions based on what they think but they have not yet been able to conclusively link the disease to one particular cause or trigger. Research continues as doctors and scientists try to crack the secrets of lupus. But so far they do not seem to be getting close to any answers that will help them find a cure or preventive measures.
Currently there may be as many questions as there are theories. For example, studies are being conducted to try to determine why this disease seems more significantly likely to occur in women than in men. Is there a hormonal aspect to it that makes this difference? Why does lupus attack African Americans, Asians and Hispanics more than Caucasians?
What goes wrong that causes the immune system to attack the body rather than continue to defend it? Why can doctors not stop this attack and reset the immune system? These and many other questions are what researchers are trying to determine. They do not know enough to make many steps forward.
So far they have been able to conclude that lupus is a multigenic illness. That means that it is caused by something wrong in more than one gene. They have found genetic abnormalities that tell them that some people are more likely, are predisposed, to developing lupus, but they do not know exactly why yet. They think that if enough of this abnormal genetic material appears in one person it may mean they are more likely to wind up with lupus.
Some studies have shown that chromosome sixteen may have some bearing on this disease since it is known to be involved with autoimmune conditions like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. This theory goes along with the conclusion that it is a combination of genetic defects that may affect a persons chance of developing lupus.
The next question seems to be if these genetic dispositions are there in a persons body what is it that makes them come out. Many researchers believe that they do so because of triggers. These may be external or internal triggers. For example some feel that stress may be a trigger or exposure to chemicals or even infections that the body has trouble handing that may make for an overstimulation of the immune system.
Other theories include lupus being more likely to develop in women who use contraceptives that have high levels of estrogen or who are using estrogen therapy for menopausal treatment.
Others believe that a key player in the development of lupus and subsequent flare-ups of the disease are primarily nutrition related. They do have proof that eating right and taking vitamins has an influence on how the body deals with the disease. So, they feel that this must be at the very least a trigger of the disease especially since researchers already know that there are particular nutrients that will help cells repair.
If you want to keep up on all the latest lupus research news, lupus.org, the Lupus foundation of America’s website, has a email newsletter you can sign up for. Click here to go to the sign up form.