June 18th, 2013
November 10th, 2010
Robert C. Ferguson, M.D., F.A.C.C
Causes of Lupus
As of now, there aren’t any specific known causes of lupus. However, there are a few different factors that rheumatologists believe may be connected with the development of the disease. The following are a few of the possible causes of lupus that have gotten doctors’ attentions.
Genes: Although not proven, it appears that lupus is found in certain families. For example, in a set of twins, if one twin is born with lupus, it is highly likely that the other twin will develop the disease as well. When lupus develops in a person who does not have a family with a history of lupus, it is likely that another family member has had some kind of autoimmune disease.
Environment: There are certain events and factors of the environment that can lead to lupus. These include exposure to ultraviolent rays from the sun or fluorescent light bulbs, taking medications containing trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, sulfisoxazole, tolbutamide, sulfasalazine, or diuretics, an infection, cold or viral illness, exhaustion, injury, emotional stress, pregnancy/childbirth, and exposure to the sun.
Hormones: The hormone estrogen is found in both men and women, but much more in women. Since lupus is most commonly found in women before a menstrual period, when estrogen levels are very high, is it thought that estrogen may regulate the severity of lupus. However, it has not been proven that estrogen or any other hormone actually causes lupus.