What is lupus disease?
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Lupus Disease is a disorder of the immune system known as an autoimmune
disease. In autoimmune diseases, the body harms its own healthy cells and
tissues. This leads to inflammation and damage to various body tissues.
How Does Lupus Disease Affect the Body ?
Lupus Disease can affect many parts of the body, including the joints,
skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain. Although people
with Lupus disease may have many different symptoms, some of the most
common ones include extreme fatigue, painful or swollen joints
(arthritis), unexplained fever, skin rashes, and kidney problems.
Is there a Cure for Lupus ?
At present, there is no cure for Lupus disease. However, Lupus can be
very successfully treated with appropriate drugs, and most people with the
disease can lead active, healthy lives. Lupus disease is characterized by
periods of illness, called flares, and periods of wellness, or remission.
Understanding how to prevent Lupus flares and how to treat them when they
do occur helps people with Lupus to maintain better health. Intense
research is underway and scientists are continuing to make great strides
in understanding the disease, which may ultimately lead to a cure.
Two of the questions researchers are studying are who gets Lupus
disease and why? We know that many more women than men have lupus disease.
Lupus disease is three times more common in African American women than in
Caucasian women and is also more common in women of Hispanic, Asian, and
Native American descent. In addition, Lupus disease can run in families,
but the risk that a child or a brother or sister of a patient will also
have Lupus disease is still quite low. It is difficult to estimate how
many have Lupus disease because its symptoms vary widely and its onset is
The Different Kinds of Lupus Disease
Although "Lupus" is used as a broad term, there actually are
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the form of Lupus disease
that most people are referring to when they say "lupus." The
word "systemic" means the disease can affect many parts of the
body. The symptoms of SLE may be mild or serious. Although SLE usually
first affects people between the ages of 15 and 45 years, it can occur
in childhood or later in life as well.
Discoid lupus erythematosus refers to a skin disorder in which a
red, raised rash appears on the face, scalp, or elsewhere. The raised
areas may become thick and scaly and may cause scarring. The rash may
last for days or years and may recur. A small percentage of people with
discoid lupus disease have or develop SLE.
Drug-induced lupus refers to a form of lupus disease caused by
specific medications. Symptoms are similar to those of SLE (arthritis,
rash, fever, and chest pain) that typically go away when the drug is
Neonatal lupus is a rare form of lupus disease affecting new
born babies of women with SLE or certain other immune system disorders.
At birth, the babies have a skin rash, liver abnormalities, or low blood
counts, which entirely go away over several months. However, babies with
neonatal lupus may have a serious heart defect. Physicians can now
identify most at-risk mothers, allowing for prompt treatment of the
infant at or before birth. Neonatal lupus is very rare, and most infants
of mothers with SLE are entirely healthy.
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