Lupus SLE is an autoimmune disease which means that the body’s immune system are attacking its own tissues instead of fighting just the bacteria and viruses that invade the body. The exact cause for the autoimmunity strange behavior which causes lupus is unknown until this time.
Although medical scientists are looking into the cause and cure for lupus, genes, viruses, ultraviolet light, and certain medications are still considered significant factors in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune thyroid disorders are high in families with history of lupus than that of the general population. An SLE research showed that chances are between 0.4 to 5% that family members or relatives of lupus patient may also develop lupus.
Genetic predisposition increases the risk of developing autoimmune diseases like lupus. However aside from genetics, environment is another factor for lupus.
Is lupus hereditary? Yes, in the sense that there is a predisposition of developing lupus from parent to child.
But it must be understood that it is not literally hereditary in that lupus itself is transmitted from parent to child. In simple terms, not all children with lupus-positive parents will also develop SLE itself; children may develop lupus even though their parents have no lupus. This means that only 5 out of 100 children of lupus parents will develop lupus themselves.
Environmental factors can trigger lupus. External factors like viruses or ultraviolet rays can stimulate the immune system in lupus patients. Even a brief exposure under the sun can worsen lupus symptoms. Infections caused by Epstein-Barr virus, certain antibiotics like sulfa and penicillin, hormonal changes like premenstrual syndrome, high level of stress, and medicines for cardiac arrhythmia and hypertension are some environmental triggers for lupus SLE.
Whether it’s genetic or environmental factor that causes lupus, the risk of developing this autoimmune disorder is high among African, Asian, or native American heritage. Out of 250 African women, only 1 may develop lupus and only 1 out of 1000 Caucasian women will have the disease. Women are prone to developing lupus especially those between the ages of 15 and 45.
A research published online revealed that there is lower mortality rate among Asian and Hispanic lupus patients.
Knowing the risk factors will clear the question of whether lupus is hereditary or not.