What Causes Lupus? Common Risk Factors and More

The chronic autoimmune illness Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), sometimes known as just Lupus, can result in discomfort and swelling all over your body. In autoimmune diseases, your immune system fights against itself. While defending against possible threats like viruses, the immune system also kills healthy tissue.

Some people are born predisposed to lupus, which can be triggered by ailments, drugs, or even sunlight. Lupus symptoms can be managed with medication, but there is no known cure.

What variants of Lupus are there?

There are several varieties of Lupus. The most typical kind is systemic lupus erythematosus. Additional forms of Lupus include

  • Cutaneous lupus erythematosus − The term "cutaneous" refers to the skin, and this variety of Lupus affects the skin. People with cutaneous lupus erythematosus may have skin problems such as rashes and sun sensitivity. The illness may also cause hair loss as a symptom.

  • Drug-induced Lupus − These lupus cases are brought on by certain drugs. Many people with drug-induced lupus may experience systemic lupus erythematosus symptoms. However, these are frequently momentary. It typically goes away when you stop taking the medication causing your lupus.

  • Neonatal Lupus − A distinctive form of Lupus, neonatal Lupus affects newborn children. Neonatal lupus patients have antibodies given to them by their mother, who may have had Lupus during her pregnancy or may get the disease later in life. Not all children born to mothers who have Lupus will go on to have it.

What is the cause of Lupus?

There is currently no known cause for lupus. While research is progressing, the exact etiology of lupus is yet unknown. Although the exact cause of the ailment is uncertain, a few factors might be to blame. Possible lupus causative factors include

  • Hormonal changes − Oestrogen and other hormones may explain why women are more likely than men to acquire lupus. Lupus is more prone to occur in women who have entered reproductive age (between 15 and 44) and have higher estrogen levels.

  • Environmental variables − Your risk of acquiring Lupus may increase due to various ecological variables. Lupus may be triggered by several factors, such as your medications, any illnesses you may have had, stress, and how much sunlight you get. Smoking history may also be a significant factor in lupus.

  • Your family's bloodline − Lupus could have a hereditary component. If you have lupus in your family, your risk of getting the disease increases.

What are the symptoms of Lupus?

It is possible for symptoms and signs to appear suddenly or gradually, mildly or severely, temporarily or permanently. Most lupus patients have minor illnesses or flares, defined by phases in which symptoms and signs temporarily worsen, then temporarily recover, or occasionally disappear entirely.

Your lupus symptoms will depend on which body systems are affected by the condition. The most common red flags and symptoms are −

  • Exhaustion, Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness

  • Redness across the cheekbones and nasal bridge on the face or rashes on other body areas.

  • Skin lesions may enlarge or get worse when exposed to the sun.

  • Your fingers and toes may become white or blue under stress or in the cold.

  • breathing challenges

  • Headaches, watery eyes, nausea, dizziness, and amnesia

Risk factors and complications of various kinds

The following elements may raise your chance of developing Lupus −

  • Your sex − Women are more prone to Lupus than males.

  • Age − It's most frequently discovered in patients between the ages of 15 and 45.

  • Race − Asian, Hispanic, and African Americans are more likely to have Lupus.

  • Infection − One of the most typical probable causes of lupus development is infection. Germs and viruses can also bring on lupus flares.

  • Medicinal risk − It has been determined that various drugs can cause lupus and lupus flares. Long-term usage of certain drugs, such as anticonvulsants, antibiotics, and blood pressure medications, often causes this kind of Lupus, and symptoms almost always go away when the prescription is stopped.

Numerous body areas may experience inflammation due to lupus effects, including


Kidney failure is among the main causes of mortality for lupus patients and can result in serious kidney damage.

Brain and Nervous system  

You may encounter headaches, vertigo, changes in behavior, visual issues, strokes, or seizures if your brain is affected by lupus. Most lupus sufferers have memory problems, making it difficult to express their worries.

Blood vessels and blood  

Low levels of healthy red blood cells and a higher likelihood of bruising or blood clotting are two side effects of lupus. Blood vessel irritation may also result from it.


Lupus increases the likelihood of chest cavity lining inflammation, making breathing challenging. Pneumonia and pulmonary hemorrhage are also likely.


Your heart's valves, vessels, or muscles may become inflamed due to lupus. Heart attacks and cardiovascular disease are now substantially more likely.

Table Showing body areas that experience inflammation due to Lupus.

How is Lupus identified?

Lupus diagnosing procedures can be time-consuming and challenging. The signs and symptoms of other diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis, can coexist with those of lupus. Lupus symptoms may take a while, making diagnosis more challenging. Your medical expert will often start by inquiring about your family history to determine if lupus runs in your family. Your healthcare physician will usually order specific lab tests after speaking with you about your symptoms. These examinations examine for anomalies such as anemia, low blood cell counts, and other conditions.

Treatment and Medications for Lupus

Lupus is a chronic (lifelong) illness that needs ongoing observation. The goal of treatment is to lessen disease-related organ damage and end your symptoms (where they are no longer present or active). Unfortunately, lupus may develop suddenly, and its symptoms might change. You will need to visit your doctor regularly, and depending on your symptoms, you may need to change your treatment plan.

Medication involves using steroids (corticosteroids, including prednisone), Hydroxychloroquine, Azathioprine, Methotrexate, Cyclophosphamide, Belimumab, and Rituximab.


Contact your healthcare practitioner if you are suffering from lupus symptoms. The vast range of symptoms and how they gradually worsen make diagnosing Lupus challenging. Getting a diagnosis is the first step to controlling the ailment and raising your quality of life.


Is lupus curable?

Lupus is now incurable. Lupus treatment aims to control your symptoms and lessen the harm the condition causes to your body. Lupus cannot be cured; however, it may be treated to reduce its adverse effects on your life.

Can you spread Lupus?

It is impossible to spread Lupus from one person to another by contact, sneezing, or coughing.

Can someone with Lupus become pregnant?

People with Lupus can become pregnant. However, people with Lupus can have an unsuccessful pregnancy (miscarriage). Discuss your future pregnancy with your doctor several months before scheduling a preconception checkup.

Who is most susceptible to getting Lupus?

The risk of having Lupus is more significant for women of childbearing age. Between 80% and 90% of Lupus cases are diagnosed in women, and most cases happen between the ages of 15 and 45.