Lupus is a complex autoimmune disorder affecting numerous bodily systems (Bernknopf, Rowley, & Bailey, 2011). The disease can manifest in clusters of symptoms that have been described as specific syndromes (Zandman-Goddard, Solomon, Rosman, Peeva, & Shoenfeld, 2012). Although there is no cure for the disease, the symptoms caused by lupus can be treated with medications (Bernkopf et al., 2011). There may be an environmentally imposed aspect of the disease in some patients that develop lupus (Zandman-Goddard et al., 2012).
Knowing the cause of a disease can increase our ability to understand and therefore treat the disease. Unfortunately, this is not possible with lupus. The exact cause of lupus is unknown, and while it is posited that there may be a genetic factor involved, no specific gene related to lupus has been identified (Lupus Foundation of America, 2012). Individuals with family members who have lupus or another autoimmune disorder are more likely to develop lupus, and twin studies show increased likelihood of developing lupus in one twin when the other has it (Lupus Foundation of America, 2012). Certain ethnic backgrounds demonstrate a greater frequency of lupus, including African, Native American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Island ethnicities (Lupus Foundation of America, 2012). Although anyone can get the disease, research shows that lupus appears in these populations more frequently than in others.
The environmental aspect of lupus is related to the disease’s initial appearance, as well as the flare-ups the disease causes. For the disease to surface or flare up, there is exposure to some environmental catalyst that sets off a disease process (Lupus Foundation of America, 2012). ...