Systemic Lupus Erythmeatous, which is often called SLE, is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body, leading to inflammation and damage of the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, nervous system and other tissues. The disease occurs nine times more frequently in women than in men and is especially prevalent in child bearing years, between the ages of 15 through to 35.
Cause of Lupus
The cause of lupus is unknown but it is thought to be triggered by multiple factors including:
- Disorders of the immune system
- Environmental factors
- Hormonal factors.
These elements appear are believed to work together to cause the disease.
Symptoms of Lupus
Signs and symptoms are quite individual and the disease severity can range from mild to life threatening. The initial disease often begins with fever and is then followed by a number of the following common symptoms including but not limited to:
- Arthralgia or arthritis
- Swollen joints
- Chest pain
- Butterfly shaped rash on the face
- Hair loss
- blood clotting
- Mouth ulcers
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Seizures or other neurological disorders.
Diagnosis of Lupus
Western medicine diagnoses lupus through a number of tests as there is no single test to prove the existence of this disease. Due to the complexity of the disease and the coming and going of symptoms other diseases are often suspected first. After positive laboratory tests (including blood counts, urinalysis, skin and kidney biopsies and several other tests) a person must report positive to 4 or more of the following symptoms in order to receive a positive diagnosis for Systemic Lupus Erythmeatous:
- Discoid skin rash.
- mucous membrane ulcers
- Kidney abnormalities
- Brain irritation
- Blood cell count abnormalities
- immunological disorders
- Antinuclear antibodies
Treatment of Lupus
Due to the diverse range of symptoms experienced by individuals, a huge variety of treatment protocols are available. Mild or remittent cases are often left untreated. NSAIDs and anti-malarial drugs are commonly used and there are a number of new potential treatment protocols currently being examined in clinical trials.
Anti-malarial drugs like Plaquenil can cause stomach pain, birth defects, blurred vision, muscle weakness, and damage to the retina of the eye.
Immunosuppressive drugs like Cytoxin, Rheumatrex, and Imuran can cause low white blood cell counts, inducing further weakness of the immune system. This puts the patient at further risk of contracting other host diseases like fungi, shingles, bacterial infections, and other opportunistic infections. Immunosuppressant drugs also damage the liver, and can strongly increase the risk of cancer.
Treating Lupus with Chinese Medicine
Chinese herbal medications and acupuncture are excellent in reducing the reliance on medications and preventing flare ups. The natural herbals prescribed for lupus are much gentler and have fewer side effects than the vast array of modern medications used to treat the illness.
A prescription for Chinese medicine may have multiple active ingredients delivering a comprehensive, integrated treatment of lupus via multiple targets and their associated pathways.
Many modern day physicians are aware of the potential for better treatment of lupus by combining the strengths of both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western medicine. Applying this approach can lead to an enhanced synergistic effect and also draw on the unique advantages of each form of medicine, such as preventing infection, stabilising a patient’s condition, reducing recurrence, and greatly improving the quality of life in patients with lupus.
Over the past few years, Chinese Medicine has made significant progress in the treatment of lupus. In China they are applying integrative therapies for lupus which typically combine Chinese herbal compounds with Western medicines such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents. Several studies have examined this treatment protocol and results have shown a significant efficacy or treatment as well as a reduction in toxic and adverse reactions.
How Chinese Medicine Treats Lupus
Chinese medicine treatments are highly individualised, however, the general the aim of treatment is to nourish the bodies cooling abilities. This allows the body to guard against many of the heat related symptoms like inflammation, dryness and fever. Chinese medicine also aims at providing a form of deep nourishment to the blood and body fluids to help the body replenish the organs and mucous membranes, guarding against many of the incessant symptoms that are common in patients suffering from Systemic Lupus Erythmeatous.
With the right approach the symptoms of Systemetic Lupus Erythmeatous can go into remission. If you would like to discuss how Chinese medicine can be used alongside the standard medical treatment for lupus, or as a treatment in it’s own right, then please give us a call at the clinic. We would be very happy to discuss things further with you.
If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of Chinese medicine and acupuncture in treating allergy & autoimmune conditions, call us on 1300 432 639.