If we talk about “Pumpuang disease”, I am sure that everybody in Thai society must be very familiar with it as the disease which cost Miss Pumpuang Duangjan, a very famous country folk singer in Thailand, her life. In this article, we will be talking about this Puampuang disease or as medically called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). What is the cause of this disease? What are its symptoms? And what criteria are used to indicate that a person has SLE. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) (a.k.a. autoimmune disease) is a disease caused by the dysfunction of our autoimmune system. Rather than acting against foreign substances from outside the body, the dysfunction acts against or destroys the cells of various organs in its own body, which cause inflammation. Organ inflammation often occurs to the skin, joints, kidneys, blood system or nervous system. One of its features is that the exacerbation will come once in a while alternate with the calm. In some cases the symptoms are very minimal or there are no symptoms at all, but some the symptoms can be severe.
The Cause of SLE is still unclear. However, the medical profession believes that there are certain factors involved with the occurrence of SLE as follows:
1. Gender, Genetics and Race: SLE is found in females more than males (9: 1) in the age range of 20-45 years. The medical profession also found that the testosterone, in particular the estrogen, is associated with the occurrence and the severity of the disease. Relatives of the person who has SLE are more likely have the disease, especially the female relatives. The incidence of SLE was found in those with black and yellow coloured skin more than white, especially in East Asian.
2. Environmental Factors such as Ultraviolet rays in sunlight or chemicals encourage the occurrence of the disease. A viral or bacterial infection can also encourage exacerbation. However, there is still no discovery of the virus or bacteria causing the disease.
3. Stress, both physically and mentally, including lack of sleep and working strenuously can also encourage the exacerbation of SLE. 4. Dysfunction of the immune system by having reactions to its own antigen resulting in the formation of antibodies. Some will attach to its own antigen creating Immune Complex disease and go to different organs and different parts of our body causing inflammation and tissue damage.
Patients will be diagnosed with SLE when presenting four of these symptoms:
1) A fever of about 38 degree Celsius for many days
2) Red rashes on their face, cheekbones and nose
3) Mouth lesions similar to canker sores with slow recovery rate
4) Discoid Lesion
5) The symptoms of Arthritis in many joints equally appearing on both side of the body
6) Allergic to sunlight
7) Inflammation of lining such as Pleurisy and Pericarditis
8) Symptoms in blood system such as Hemolytic anemia, low leukocyte, and low platelet
9) Neurological symptoms such as seizures and depression with no explanation
10) Positive results from Antibody Blood Tests
11) Positive results in blood tests for Anti – DNA, LE cell, Anti – Sm, or received positive result in VDRL The facts about SLE are not easy but not too hard to understand. If we pay enough attention in taking care of our health and our body, SLE can be detected early and we are able to avoid certain factors which encourage the occurrence or severity of the disease. Therefore, if you suspect that you may have SLE, we recommend that it is best to consult with a medical specialist, together with having the laboratory analysis.