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Systemic Erythematosus Lupus (SLE)

Systemic erythematosus lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease whereby the immune system attacks its own tissues, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage in the affected organs. It can affect the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys and blood vessels. 


Incidence in Malaysia

It is estimated that there were approximately 10,000 SLE patients in Malaysia. While the disease can affect both genders, it is more prevalent in women as 90% of cases are in women aged 15 to 50 years. 

A study found that ethnic Chinese had the highest prevalence of SLE compared to other ethnic groups. 


Recognising the Symptoms

  • Fever, fatigue, and weight loss

  • Arthritis

  • Skin rash appearing in the cheeks and areas exposed to the sun

  • Sores in the mouth or nose 

  • Loss of hair

  • Seizures, strokes and mental disorders

  • Blood clots 

  • Miscarriages in some patients

  • Blood or protein in the urine or tests that suggest poor kidney function

  • Low blood counts 


Treatment & Diagnosis 

Diagnosis of SLE is based on clinical symptoms and laboratory findings. Antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) are usually present in individuals with SLE.

Treatment of SLE usually involves medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids; immunosuppressants aimed to reduce symptoms, control inflammation, and prevent organ damage.

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