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What Causes Lupus?

Updated: Apr 18

Lupus is a complex autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues and organs, causing inflammation and damage. The immune system may affect nearly every part of the body - skin, organs, including your brain, and more. While the exact cause of lupus is not fully understood, there are several factors that may contribute to its development.


One of the primary factors that may cause lupus is genetics. Studies have shown that people with a family history of lupus are at a higher risk of developing the disease themselves. While lupus is not directly inherited, certain genes can increase a person's susceptibility to developing the condition. Researchers have identified over 50 genes that may be involved in the development of lupus. But this is only part of the story, if an identical twin has Lupus, the other twin (with 100% of the same genes), has less than 50% chance to develop Lupus too.


Hormones may also play a role in the development of lupus, particularly in women. Lupus is more common in women than men, and the disease often begins during reproductive years (puberty to menopause). This has led researchers to believe that hormonal changes may play a part in the development of lupus. Most women are diagnosed between the ages of 15-49 years old.

Environmental factors

Environmental factors may also contribute to the development of lupus. Exposure to certain chemicals and toxins has been linked to the development of autoimmune diseases, including lupus. Sunlight and UV radiation are also known triggers for lupus, particularly in individuals with photosensitivity.


Certain infections may trigger the development of lupus in genetically susceptible individuals. Viral infections, such as Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus, have been linked to the development of lupus. Bacterial infections, such as those caused by Streptococcus and Staphylococcus bacteria, have also been associated with the development of lupus.


While stress does not directly cause lupus, it can trigger flares and worsen symptoms in individuals with the disease. In combination with other risk factors, stress may contribute to its development. Stress can activate the immune system, leading to increased inflammation and autoimmune activity.

In conclusion, the exact cause of lupus is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, hormonal, environmental, infectious, and stress-related factors. By understanding these factors, researchers hope to develop better treatments and preventative measures for this complex autoimmune disease.

If you're struggling with a new Lupus diagnosis but you want to be proactive about using diet and lifestyle to control your symptoms, schedule a FREE call with me to get started!


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