What are neurological sequelae of lupus?

Lupus (also called systemic lupus erythematosus) 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 overactive 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 be 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 (including personality changes, paranoia, mania, and schizophrenia), seizures, transverse myelitis, and paralysis and stroke.

This answer is based on source information from National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

The newly adopted nomenclature system from the American College of Rheumatology recognizes 19 neuropsychiatric syndromes that can be associated with systemic lupus erythematosus. These incluede diffuse CNS disorders such as acute confusional state or delirium, psychosis, anxiety and depressive disorders, and clinical or subclinical cognitive abnormalities of variable functional significance.

More focal CNS syndromes include seizures, cerebrovascular disease (strokes), chorea (twisting bodily movements) and myelopathy (spinal cord lesion).

In addition the  peripheral nervous system can be affected with neuropathy, plexopathy, acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (Guillain Barre syndrome), and autonomic disorders (abnormal sweating, heart rhythms, dry mouth or excessive salivation, constipation).



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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.