Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic, multisystem, inflammatory, autoimmune disorder characterized by formation of autoantibodies directed against self-antigens and immune-complex formation.
It can be suspected when ≥2 organ systems are involved.
It is predominantly diagnosed in females of childbearing age, rarely diagnosed before 8 years old.
Clinical presentation varies in different patients and the disease activity varies over time in a single patient. Majority of patients have arthralgia of the hand.

Patient Education

  • Patients should be provided w/ information, counseling & support
  • Involve all the family members in counseling regarding the disease
    • Family must have a thorough understanding of the disease, its potential severity & complications of the disease & treatment
  • Patient must learn to cope & monitor the disease when he or she is at the right age
    • He or she should be able to distinguish signs & symptoms that may precede a disease flare & consult w/ the physician immediately
    • Educate all patients regarding possible complications from unplanned pregnancy, poor compliance,recreational drug use & infection
    • For married patients, contraception is important during the active phase of the disease
  • Advise patients to join other systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients in support groups
  • Patients must be advised to wear clothing w/ long sleeves, use umbrella or sunscreen lotion & refrain from sunbathing to prevent exacerbation of dermatologic symptoms
    • Use sunscreen w/ at least a sun-protection factor (SPF) of 15
  • Patients must have appropriate diet to prevent obesity, osteoporosis & dyslipidemia
    Advise patients to seek medical help when they have fever
    • Exposure to immunosuppressive drugs used in SLE may predispose patients to infection
  • Patients on corticosteroids should have a no added
    • Regular exercise to maintain appropriate weight & bone density
    • Advise patients that fatigue & stress are associated w/ disease flares
  • Immunization should be updated for all patients
    • Patients should have appropriate immunizations (ie influenza, pneumococcal, HPV)
    • Patients w/ SLE are often complement deficient & are at risk for encapsulated organisms
  • Antibiotic prophylaxis for all dental, genitourinary & other invasive procedures for patients at high risk of infections (eg patients w/ valvular abnormalities, on immunosuppressive therapy)
  • Patients should routinely undergo gynecologic assessments, dental care & ophthalmologic exam especially for patients taking corticosteroids
  • Psychological support may also be necessary
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