Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), also known as Lupus, is a chronic disease that causes generalized inflammation in the body, commonly affecting the skin, joints, and internal organs (i.e. kidney, heart, lungs, brain). This inflammatory response occurs because SLE is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body’s immune system (the one that normally fights infections) targets healthy tissue instead.
Lupus occurs predominantly in women, specifically those of child-bearing age (15-44 years old); although, it can sometimes start in childhood. Moreover, the cause of this disease is not completely understood. It is likely that SLE results from a combination of a specific genetic makeup and environmental exposures (i.e. infections).
SLE can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms are often unspecific and will depend on which body systems are affected by the condition. Furthermore, the manifestations of lupus can be permanent or temporary, they can progress slowly or have an acute onset, or they can be mild or severe. In general, most patients with SLE suffer from a mild form of the disease along with intermittent episodes (flares) of worsening signs and symptoms. While there is no definite cure for this disease, available treatments can aid in the management of symptoms. If you would like to know more about SLE, here are 10 Lupus Signs and Symptoms in Women.
Fatigue is a medical term that can be defined as a pathologic sensation of constant tiredness that is very profound. Additionally, this extreme tiredness generally does not improve with rest. It is a symptom of a variety of medical conditions, including Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.
Fatigue can affect up to 80% of patients with this condition1C. M. Tench, I. McCurdie, P. D. White, D. P. D’Cruz, The prevalence and associations of fatigue in systemic lupus erythematosus, Rheumatology, Volume 39, Issue 11, November 2000, Pages 1249–1254, https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/39.11.1249. Unfortunately, in most cases the cause of this symptom is unknown. Possible factors that can contribute to fatigue in lupus include disease activity (i.e. anemia, lung, and heart disease), poor sleep quality, associated mood disorders (anxiety and/or depression), and medications. Moreover, lupus can present with associated infections, which can also be responsible for this symptom. Finally, the treatment of fatigue in SLE is difficult. However, if you are experiencing this symptom, it is important to work with your doctor to pinpoint the cause.