Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterised by immune dysregulation resulting in the production of antinuclear antibodies (ANA), generation of circulating immune complexes, and activation of the complement system. SLE is a chronic disease, usually life-long, and potentially fatal. It is characterised by unpredictable exacerbations and remissions with protean clinical manifestations. In SLE there is a predilection for clinical involvement of the joints, skin, kidney, brain, serosa, lung, heart and gastrointestinal tract. The pathologic hallmark of the disease is recurrent, widespread, and diverse vascular lesions. In 90-95% of patients with SLE, the serum ANA will be positive, typically with a speckled, diffuse, or peripheral pattern. When the ANA is negative but the diagnosis is still strongly suspected, a test for anti-Ro (SS-A) and anti-La (SS-B) can be used to identify the rare patient with ANA negative. The drugs used to treat SLE include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hydroxychloroquine , corticosteroid and immunosuppressive drugs (e.g. azathioprine, cyclophosphamide)


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