Causes of Lupus

What causes lupus?

Just like no one knows a cure for lupus yet, no one knows the exact cause of lupus either. No single factor is known to cause lupus. Research suggests that a combination of  environmental, genetic, hormonal and immune system factors may be behind it.

lupus genetics and environmentGenetics

Genes play an important role, but are not the only reason a person will get lupus. Even someone who has one or more of the genes associated with lupus has a small chance of actually getting the disease. In fact, only 10 percent of people with lupus have a parent or sibling who also has it. However, many people with lupus have a family history of other associated autoimmune conditions.

Immune System

With lupus, the immune system becomes hyperactive and begins attacking healthy cells and tissues in the body instead of protecting it from viruses, bacteria, germs and other foreign invaders. Researchers are looking for the factors in the immune system can predispose someone to lupus.

Environmental Factors:

  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Emotional stress
  • Exposure to sunlight,
  • Smoking,
  • Certain medications such as the blood pressure drug hydralazine and the heart rhythm drug procainamide, may cause lupus-like symptoms.


Lupus is more common in women during childbearing years and high levels of hormones such as estrogen seem to aggravate or trigger lupus.

One other thing to keep in mind is that Lupus is not a disease you can catch from another person.

Many times a person with lupus also has multiple other autoimmune diseases but there is no evidence to show that lupus caused the other conditions or that the other condition caused lupus.


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