Question: How do you stop lupus in the lungs

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  1. That’s a tough question. I’ll try to give you some info but is really out of my area of expertise…

    Lupus (aka Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – SLE) is an auto-immune disease. That basically means that the body starts mounting an immune response against itself. Normally, while you’re a fetus your immune system learns to ignore your own cells (known as self-tolerance) so it can focus on foreign cells, which are most likely some kind of infection (bacteria or virus). In some diseases (lupus, multiple sclerosis, some kinds of diabetes, etc) your body loses this self-tolerance and mistakenly starts attacking your own cells (nerve cells in MS, pancreas cells in diabetes). In the case of lupus your body starts making antibodies against proteins attached to the DNA in your cells. This causes a wide range of symptoms in many tissues (skin, joints, kidneys, lungs etc). The name of the disease comes form the latin words for wolf (lupus) and red (erythro) and refers to one of the most common symptoms, which is a red rash on the face. Nobody really knows what triggers lupus. The treatments include drugs that suppress the immune system.

    The lungs are commonly affected by lupus because of bleeding, inflammation, infection, and congestion and can be treated in a number of different ways depending on the nature of the disease in each patient. Unfortunately, as far as I know there is no way to actually stop it happening in the lungs.


  2. I wish I knew the answer… Scientists still don’t know exactly what causes lupus, so no one has been able to design drugs to specifically treat it or get rid of it.

    Lupus is an auto-immune disease – where your immune system over-reacts and starts attacking your own body, instead of defending it. Lupus affects each person slightly differently, and can involve many different organs in the body. But about half of the people with lupus end up with some kind of problem with their lungs. This is because lupus causes a lot of inflammation in the lungs, causing chest pains and shortness of breath. Taking anti-inflammatory medicines, like aspirin and ibuprofen (and others) can tone down the immune responses and provide pain-relief.

    So I guess the answer is that there isn’t a way to stop lupus in the lungs, but there is a way to treat the symptoms and reduce the effects of lupus in the lungs. There is a lot of research being done in Australia to try and find new ways to diagnose and treat lupus, and I know researchers at Monash University in Victoria who are working on this right now!

    Story on New Lupus Breakthrough here –