Problems with the brain can be both painful and life-threatening. As the command center for the entire body, your brain controls everything from involuntary muscle movements to deliberate thoughts and actions. When something goes wrong, it often manifests itself in peculiar ways.
Consider the relatively rare yet potentially critical brain condition known as lupus cerebritis. While only a few million people in the world suffer from its many side effects, untreated lupus cerebritis can put a person’s life (or the quality thereof) at a great risk. Therefore, understanding what it is can help you or your loved ones stay healthy in the face of physical adversity.
What Is Lupus Cerebritis?
Officially defined as inflammation of the cerebrum, lupus cerebritis, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), occurs as a result of one or more abscesses forming within brain tissue. Additionally, it is found most commonly among patients with active lupus, SLE is a chronic disease that leads to the development of autoantibodies. Those autoantibodies then attack the body’s many systems, resulting in the autoimmune disorder we know as lupus cerebritis.
What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Lupus Cerebritis?
Because lupus cerebritis causes the creation of autoantibodies that quickly attack the various body organs, this condition also affects the nervous system. In fact, nervous system problems are among its primary symptoms. In most cases, lupus cerebritis causes migraines and/or headaches that last several minutes. Additionally, the condition can result in more serious problems such as dementia and other transient or permanent neurological deficits.
Sometimes confused with a stroke, lupus cerebritis is associated with the following symptoms:
- Slurred speech
- Sudden mood swings
- Blurred vision
- Inexplicable memory loss
- Memory disturbances
- Trouble concentrating
- Swelling (namely in the face, hands or feet)
It’s important to note that many of the symptoms mentioned above can be life-threatening. Furthermore, untreated symptoms of lupus cerebritis can cause the condition to worsen rather quickly. Ultimately, patients may then develop or experience more severe health problems such as stroke and/or heart attack.
What Causes Lupus Cerebritis?
There are several causes for lupus cerebritis. Most of the time, it is associated with a bacterial infection or an invasion of pathogens or viruses into brain tissue. For instance, bacteria and viruses typically enter a person’s already delicate system through their sinus cavity or as a result of trauma.
The facts which put a person at a greater risk of developing lupus cerebritis are as follows:
- The presence of IRF8, IKZF3, and TMEM39a genetic markers
- Exposure to a form of bacterial pneumonia known as klebsiella
- An existing autoimmune dysfunction
- Elevations in serum prolactin (PRL) levels
- Hinderances and alterations of protein cells made by the presence of cytokines in the blood
- Receiving immunosuppressive therapies
Other, more common, causes often include:
- Exposure to ultraviolet light
- Certain gene mutations
- Pegylated interferon therapy (PIT)
Above all, it is important to note that in the most recent studies, risks factors for lupus cerebritis were more prevalent in patients with nervous system bacterial infections than they were in patients with viral infections of the central nervous system.
Healthy Ways to Prevent Lupus Cerebritis
To avoid suffering from lupus cerebritis, or exacerbating the symptoms thereof, be sure to following these simple guidelines:
- Avoid any foods, drinks, drugs or activities that may cause inflammation.
- Stay away from refined sugar, as it may cause an unsafe fluctuation in insulin levels, resulting in an unwanted immune response.
- Keep saturated and trans fat out of your diet at all costs because they both beckon a reaction from your immune system.
- Enjoy dairy products at a minimum to avoid the production of histamines and immunoglobulin E antibodies.
- Do not eat processed foods if you can help it because some ingredients may have inflammatory effects.
- Use safe anti-inflammatory essential oils to manage minor inflammation and keep bigger problems at bay.
- Avoid smoking tobacco or consuming alcohol.
- Enjoy a diet that is rich in lupus-fighting vitamins,
antioxidants and minerals, such as:
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
Treatment Options for Lupus Cerebritis
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for lupus cerebritis. However, there are some treatment options available to those who consult with a doctor. In other words, by successfully suppressing the body’s autoimmune activity, doctors can help manage the symptoms thereof.
Treatments are typically based on a variety of factors, including the patient’s age and well-being. Mild cases of lupus cerebritis are generally treated with antibiotics and/or steroids. Often, treatment regimens are combined for maximum effect. Lastly, for some patients and for more serious cases, the use of white blood cell thinners may be required to alleviate brain inflammation and/or abscesses.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article on The Facts about Lupus Cerebritis, you will also enjoy reading The Hypnic Headache and How to Treat It