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EmpowHER has many members living with lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to turn on itself and attack its own tissue and cells, by causing inflammation in the skin, joints, muscles and organs that leads to great discomfort and pain all over.
Lupus is often connected to other autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Why some people get lupus and others do not is unknown. According to EmpowHER's page on lupus:
The cause of lupus is unknown. Researchers believe it may be a combination of:
■ Environmental factors, which may include: ◦Sunlight (UV rays) ◦Stress
■Viral or other type of infection
■ Drug-induced ( methyldopa , procainamide , hydralazine , isoniazid , chlorpromazine , TNF-blocking drugs)
These risk factors increase your chance of developing lupus. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
■Sex: female to male ratio: 10:1
■Age: childbearing age (20-45 years)
■Race: African American, Native American, Asian, and Hispanic
Since women in their childbearing years are the most affected, concerns about pregnancy abound for many women who have a diagnosis of lupus.
Is pregnancy possible? Is it wise? Are there more risks for a woman with lupus than without?
A new study that will be presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology's annual meeting in Chicago showed that while pregnancies are certainly at risk for women with lupus, most go on to have healthy babies. One of the key factors in sustaining a healthy pregnancy is having control over lupus at the time of conception and keeping it stable throughout gestation.
333 women were studied from the beginning of pregnancy to the first three months postpartum. One in ten had lupus flares at about 20 weeks (8 percent at 32 weeks and above) and nearly one in ten had premature births.
Of the women who lost their babies or had infants needing specialized care, many had lupus flares after 32 weeks, high lupus activity in general and had poorer overall health than their counterparts who successfully gave birth.