Sunday, May 8, 2022

How Does Lupus Affect The Brain

Don't Miss

Do Other Brain Problems Happen In People With Lupus

Brain Fog and Lupus

Blood flow to the brain feeds brain cells with nutrients and oxygen. Strokes occur when this blood flow is interrupted and brain cells die from the lack of oxygen, causing symptoms such as tingling sensations and problems with vision, speech, and movement . People with lupus have a higher risk for stroke, especially the third or so who have antiphospholipid antibodies that make blood sticky and more likely to clot and stop or slow blood flow to the brain. Although uncommon, inflammation in the spinal cord or brains blood vessels also happens with lupus and can lead to paralysis, seizures, difficulty judging reality, and loss of consciousness.

Correlation Of Antibody Titer With Central Nervous System Manifestations Of Sle

The next key question was whether we could relate antibody titer to brain dysfunction. Several studies have been performed by several groups of investigators examining serum titers of anti-NMDAR antibodies. Some studies suggested an association of high serum titers with memory impairment or depression, whereas other studies failed to confirm these associations . Studies were also performed looking for a correlation of antibody titers within the cerebrospinal fluid with central nervous system symptoms . These studies examined CSF of patients obtained during an acute episode marked by a change in alertness, cognitive function or mood in contrast to the studies of serum titers. Studies of serum titer, in contrast, assessed accumulated damage in clinically quiescent patients rather than focusing on patients experiencing an acute change in neurologic status. All studies of CSF titers of anti-NMDAR antibody have demonstrated a correlation with diffuse non-focal injury . Moreover, we were able to elute anti-NMDAR antibody from the brain of a patient with brain disease as a terminal event . These studies demonstrated a link between antibody in the brain and brain dysfunction and confirmed the importance of the blood-brain barrier in protecting the brain from routine exposure to circulating antibody.

Will A Person With Lupus And Brain Problems Be Ok

No matter whether the problem is mild or severe, there often are effective and surprising ways of handling lupus thinking problems, memory difficulties, and behavior issues. Counseling and antidepressant medicines help many people. Support groups are a good place to hear about ideas on concentrating better, remembering important things, and thinking more clearly. Knowing that others live with the scariness and unknowns of lupus can also make having the disease less lonely. More severe nervous system involvement, such as confusion, seizures or stroke, may require more aggressive treatment with immunosuppressive medications. With time and luck, the researchers hard at work figuring out what can be done to stop lupus from damaging the brain will have some solid answers about cause and better treatments.

Also Check: Eeg Slow Wave Activity

Where The Feelings Come From

The feelings associated with lupus can have multiple causes, including:

Outward effects of the disease or its treatment. Visible problems such as a facial rash or weight gain from corticosteroids used to treat lupus can affect your physical appearance and self-esteem.

Work and activity limitations. Pain, fatigue, and other symptoms can make it difficult to do things you once enjoyed. The disease or its treatment may make it necessary to cut back at work or even leave your job completely. This can affect the pleasure you get from your job, your sense of purpose, and your income.

Pain, fatigue, and other physical symptoms. Simply living with pain and other symptoms every day can wear you down. Emotionally, this can lead to frustration and feelings of hopelessness.

Social isolation. When you feel bad or use all of your energy just to get through the day, social activities may be among the first things to go. Concerns about changes in your appearance may also cause you to withdraw.

Uncertainty about the future. Having a chronic, unpredictable disease can cause uncertainty and anxiety. You may wonder how the disease will progress, whether you will be able to stay independent, or how you will manage physically and financially.

How Lupus Affects The Eyes

The Effects of Lupus on the Body

Systemic lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body, including the eyes. Lupus most often affects the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys and central nervous system . The clinical course is unpredictable and is characterized by periods of remissions and flares, which may be acute or chronic.

The effects lupus may have in and around the eyes include: changes in the skin around the eyelids, dry eyes, inflammation of the white outer layer of the eyeball, blood vessel changes in the retina, and damage to nerves controlling eye movement and affecting vision.

You May Like: What Causes Slow Brain Waves

Other Types Of Lupus Include:

Discoid lupus erythematosus and subacute cutaneous lupus are diseases where skin rashes and sun sensitivity are the main problems involvement of the internal parts of the body does not occur and life is not threatened. However, both DLE and SCLE may, at times, occur along with the systemic form of lupus. Performing appropriate tests to rule out systemic lupus erythematosus is therefore important when DLE or SCLE is newly diagnosed.

Neonatal lupus is an uncommon form of lupus that affects the newborn child. This most often occurs in the children of women with SCLE or systemic lupus who also have a particular antibody in their bloodstream. Skin rashes that come and go and a decrease in some of the blood cells may occur but these problems go away within six months after birth. In rare cases, the tissues that control the normal heartbeat may be affected. However, this serious problem can often be corrected with a pacemaker.

Drug-induced lupus is triggered by certain drugs. Only a small number of people taking these drugs develop this form of lupus which has many of the symptoms of systemic lupus. The most important feature of drug-induced lupus is that it goes away when the offending drug is stopped.

Neurological Manifestations Of Lupus

Cerebrovascular accidents

A fairly large number have anticardiolipin antibodies or a lupus anticoagulant. These antibodies increase blood clot development . An estimated one-third of these individuals may develop blood clots in various parts of the body. When a blood clot occurs in the central nervous system, it can cause a cerebrovascular accident, or stroke. Symptoms of stroke include sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg, or difficulty speaking.

The risk of stroke in lupus may be increased even without anticardiolipin antibodies or a lupus anticoagulant. Depending on the persons risk factors, the risk of stroke may be reduced with medications, such as blood thinners and aspirin. Blood pressure control and cholesterol treatment are important. Smoking should be eliminated.

Lupus headache

Compared with the general population, people with lupus are twice as likely to have migraine-like headaches. People with lupus who also have Raynauds phenomenon are even more likely to have severe headaches. Headaches are managed using painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, specific migraine therapies and sometimes tricyclic antidepressants.

Mood Disorders

Recommended Reading: How Do Puzzles Help The Brain

Neurological Tests For Lupus

Your doctor may order one or more laboratory tests to determine whether or not your lupus is causing neurological involvement and to what extent. These tests may include magnetic resonance imaging , electroencephalogram , electromyogram , computed tomography scan, lumbar puncture or blood tests. X-rays may also be used on occasion to diagnose neurological damage.

  • CT and MRI obtain images of the brain that reveal strokes, tumours, bleeding and abscesses.
  • EEG detects abnormal electrical activity of the brain, which may be associated with seizures .
  • EMG and nerve conduction studies detect abnormal electrical activity of muscles and nerves.
  • Spinal fluid analysis reveals distinct changes in the spinal fluid that point to various disorders .
  • Blood tests may show bleeding problems, or antibodies that can lead to abnormal blood clotting .

While we dont completely understand the mechanisms by which lupus affects the central nervous system, we know that there are several neurological syndromes that affect many people. Although cognitive impairment is believed to be very common in lupus, few patients undergo specific testing to document it. Symptoms include difficulty finding words and retrieving information. People with the condition often refer to it as lupus fog.

Mental Effects Of The Lupus Disease Process

Getting Fogged In: When Lupus Brain Fog Hits

Sometimes, the mental and emotional effects of lupus can be related to the disease process itself or medications used to treat it. Common problems that may be associated with the disease include:

Cognitive dysfunction. Many people with lupus experience a variety of related problems including forgetfulness or difficulty thinking. They may describe these problems as feeling âfuzzy-headedâ or being in a âlupus fog.â These problems often coincide with periods of increased disease activity, or flares. But cognitive problems can also be symptoms of depression.

Depression and anxiety. These can occur as a psychological reaction to having lupus or a side effect of treatment. They may also occur as a direct result of the disease process. Often it is difficult for doctors to sort out the actual cause.

Mood swings and personality changes. People with lupus may experience unpredictable changes in moods and personality traits. This can include feelings of anger and irritability. These may be related to the disease process or, in some cases, the use of corticosteroid medications.

Read Also: How Do Puzzles Help Your Brain

Blood And Blood Vessels

Lupus may also cause anaemia, which is when you have a lack of red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen around the body, and if you dont have enough of them you can get out of breath and tire quickly. If you have these symptoms you should tell your doctor or nurse specialist.

People with lupus might also have a low number of platelets, cells that help the blood to clot. If you find that you are bruising easily or notice bleeding from the gums or nose you should let your doctor or nurse specialist know. Lupus can also affect your white blood cells, which are important in fighting infections.

Some people with lupus are more at risk of developing blood clots in veins or arteries. This problem is usually caused by antiphospholipid antibodies. These autoantibodies can also affect pregnancy, causing an increased risk of miscarriage.

If blood clots occur blood thinning medication will be needed.

Skin Rashes And Lesions

While many people often associate lupus with the facial butterfly rash, the reality is lupus can cause a variety of skin rashes and lesions, most of which appear on sun-exposed areas like the face, ears, neck, arms and legs. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, 66 percent of people with lupus develop some sort of skin disease.

There are three main types of cutaneous lupus:

  • Chronic cutaneous lupus. Discoid lupus causes round, disc-shaped lesions that are red, scaly and thick. The lesions usually dont hurt, but can be photosensitive and lead to scarring.
  • Subacute cutaneous lupus. This type causes areas of red, scaly skin with distinct edges or red, ring-shaped lesions. These lesions are also photosensitive.
  • Acute cutaneous lupus. This type most commonly produces the butterfly rash areas of red skin that resemble a sunburn. This rash often appears on the nose and cheeks but can appear elsewhere on the body.
  • Read Also: Brain Bleed Elderly Prognosis

    What Research Is Being Done

    Investigators researching lupus seek to increase scientific understanding of the disorder and to find ways to treat, prevent, and ultimately, cure it. Several components of the National Institutes of Health support research on lupus.

    Investigators researching lupus seek to increase scientific understanding of the disorder and to find ways to treat, prevent, and ultimately, cure it. Several components of the National Institutes of Health support research on lupus.

    Lupus is a disorder of the immune system. Normally, the immune system protects the body against invading infections and cancers. In lupus, the immune system is over-active and produces increased amounts of abnormal antibodies that attack the body’s tissues and organs. Lupus can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, nervous system, and blood vessels. The signs and symptoms of lupus differ from person to person the disease can range from mild to life threatening.

    Initial symptoms of lupus may begin with a fever, vascular headaches, epilepsy, or psychoses. A striking feature of lupus is a butterfly shaped rash over the cheeks. In addition to headache, lupus can cause other neurological disorders, such as mild cognitive dysfunction, organic brain syndrome, peripheral neuropathies, sensory neuropathy, psychological problems , seizures, transverse myelitis, and paralysis and stroke.

    Why Does The Immune System Go Wrong

    The Effects of Lupus on the Body

    Several genetic factors probably influence the development of SLE.

    Some genes in the body help the immune system to function. In people with SLE, changes in these genes may stop the immune system from working properly.

    One possible theory relates to cell death, a natural process that occurs as the body renews its cells, according to Genetics Home Reference.

    Some scientists believe that, due to genetic factors, the body does not get rid of cells that have died.

    These dead cells that remain may release substances that cause the immune system to malfunction.

    Lupus may develop in response to a number of factors. These may be hormonal, genetic, environmental, or a combination of these.

    Also Check: What Does The Hippocampus Do In The Brain

    A Peptide Mimetope As A Therapeutic Agent

    While the therapeutic efficacy of D-DWEYS in protecting kidney and brain from antibody-mediated injury confirms the contribution of antibody to tissue injury and provides proof of principle for the therapeutic use of a decoy antigen, the D-DWEYS peptide, like most peptides, cannot be given orally. While individuals do self-inject daily or even more frequently in the case of some therapeutic agents, such as insulin, it may be difficult for patients to self-inject peptide 2 or 3 times daily. We therefore synthesized a small molecule mimetope of the DWEYS peptide, FISLE 412 . This molecule is orally absorbed and, like the d-peptide, will inhibit a significant percent of DNA reactivity in multiple lupus sera. It can prevent both R4A, the mouse monoclonal anti-DNA, anti-NMDAR antibody and G11, a human monoclonal antibody with the same cross-reactivity and cloned from a peripheral blood B-cell of a lupus patient, from binding glomeruli ex vivo or from causing neuronal death in vivo. FISLE 412 is an attractive therapeutic not only because it can be taken orally but also because it binds even more avidly to R4A and G11 than DWEYS, suggesting that it may have a competitive advantage over tissue antigen despite being monomeric.

    What Is The Lupus Rash

    A skin rash is one common symptom of lupus. Rashes from lupus are often from prolonged sun exposure, and usually last days to weeks. You can have a rash on your face, hands or wrists. When you have a rash on your face, it typically extends across the bridge of your nose and onto each of your cheeks. This is often referred to as a butterfly rash because of the shape across your face.

    Skin rashes can be uncomfortable and itchy. These rashes can sometimes fade after a short period of time. However, some rashes and sores on your skin can be permanent.

    Recommended Reading: Eeg Diffuse Slowing

    Is Raynauds Disease A Sign Of Lupus

    Its estimated that one in three people who have lupus also have Raynauds disease. This condition causes blood vessels to contract. These narrowed vessels restrict blood flow to the hands and feet.

    Stress and cold temperatures can trigger Raynauds disease symptoms, which include:

    • numbness or tingling in the fingers or toes

    • painful fingers or toes

    • tips of fingers or toes turn red, white, blue, or purple

    How Is Lupus Psychosis Treated

    Lupus Brain Fog

    The treatment for lupus psychosis is a mixture of antipsychotic medications to treat the symptoms and lupus medications to treat the cause. Corticosteroids, like prednisone, and immune system suppressing medications will reduce the symptoms of lupus. This leads to less inflammation in the brain, which will help reduce the symptoms of psychosis. So, in most cases, not much changes in the regimen, except for the addition of antipsychotics.

    Read Also: What Causes Bleeding On The Brain In The Elderly

    How Does Lupus Cause Complications Of The Nervous System

    Doctors believe that lupus harms the nervous system in several ways. It can create antibodies that bind to the nerve cells and disrupt their function. Or, these antibodies can bind to the blood vessels that feed nerves, stopping blood from flowing to the nerves which then results in malfunction. In addition, some lupus medications may directly contribute to or aggravate existing neuropsychiatric symptoms.

    The most common manifestations of lupus in the central and peripheral nervous systems are:1

    • Spinal tap
    • Memory and behavior tests

    X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans can reveal blockages, narrowing blood vessels, and other structural issues of the brain, nerve, and spinal tissue. An EEG will show electric patterns in the brain, or how the brain is firing. A spinal tap removes fluid from the spine so that it can be analyzed. Memory and behavior tests can tell the doctor whether these processes have been affected.2

    It can be difficult for your doctor to determine whether some neuropsychiatric symptoms, especially depression and anxiety, are caused by structural or mechanical changes in the nervous system, or whether it is caused by the stress of a chronic illness, money worries, and isolation. In addition, people with lupus can have mental health issues such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia just like the rest of the population.

    What Is A Lupus Flare

    Lupus symptoms can occur in cycles. When you dont have symptoms , youre in remission. Once the disease becomes active, you can experience lupus flare-ups or flares.

    During a lupus flare, you may have the same symptoms youve always had but more severe. Some people develop new symptoms. Inflammation in an organ or organ system causes flares.

    Also Check: Hippocampal Injury Symptoms

    More articles

    Popular Articles