Lupus and MS (SLE and MS) are so alike that it has led some people to ask: Is there a MS and Lupus connection? This article will answer that question and many more. Please read on.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that may damage any part of the body. Autoimmune means that the body’s immune system begins attacking the healthy tissues of the body as if they were foreign invaders like germs, viruses, and bacteria. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is also an autoimmune disease, but unlike lupus, the antibodies only attack one type of cell. The cells they attack are called olygodendrocytes, and they are found throughout the nervous system. Therefore, all of the symptoms of MS are neurological.
The similarities between MS and lupus are many. As was pointed out before, they are both autoimmune diseases. Both SLE and MS have an early on set in young adulthood, and both afflict women more often than men. Furthermore, researchers have found in both that people with lupus usually have some genetic vulnerability to the disease from birth, but it usually takes some sort of environmental trigger to make the disease manifest itself. They are beginning to see that MS might come about under the same conditions.
The patterns of sickness between SLE and MS seem to be the same too, with a continuing cycle of sickness and remission. Another similarity is that the symptoms of Lupus and MS have a lot in common as well. They both are characterized by extreme fatigue, inflammation, headaches, and muscle stiffness. Many times they both result in changes in thinking and feeling, mood changes, disordered thinking, poor memory and depression (HelloLife, 2011).
Are they Connected?
As of now, there is no direct connection between the two. Lupus is known as “the great imposter”, and there are many diseases which it sometimes seems to be at first. There are times when lupus affects the nervous system, and MS-like symptoms occur, such as the mood changes, depression, and disorganized thoughts that were spoken of before. Lupus is however, distinctly its own disease.
A this point their does not seem be any connection, aside from the fact that they are so similar. To just toss out these similarities, would be a mistake, and to begin linking autoimmune diseases to one another may not be a bad choice. This many commonalities are a little hard to overlook, and just because there is no scientific backing as of yet does not mean there isn’t a link to be found.