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SLE is one of a group of autoimmune conditions, ones in which the body attacks its own components. Other suchconditions are rheumatoid arthritis, some thyroid disorders and pernicious anaemia. In SLE the body reacts against its own DNA and RNA. DNA is the complex double helix within the cell that carries the genetic information and is the blue print for forming all the body's vital proteins.RNA is also critical to this process.There is a family tendency in this; if your brother or sister is affected with SLE your own chances of acquiring it are about one in twenty whereas the general incidence of the condition is about one in a thousand. Certain drugs can cause an SLE type illness e.g. Hydralazine which used to be used for high blood pressure. SLE is common in Afro-Americans and women are affected nine times as often as men are.

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