The Lupus Disease

Read along and learn more about Lupus

What Is Lupus?

  • Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body like the skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body.
  • Immune cells attack the body's own healthy tissues, leading to inflammation and tissue damage. Symptoms may be limited to the skin, but more often lupus also causes internal problems such as joint pain. In severe cases, it can damage the heart, kidneys, and other vital organs. Although there's no cure, there are treatments that can minimize the damage.


  • Anyone can get lupus. It affects women 10 times more than men. Aside from being female, your odds of getting the disease are higher if your African-American, Latino, or Asian, Between the ages 20 and 40, and/or related to someone with lupus.
  • There are three types of Lupus disease. The most common lupus disease is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

  • SLE is a chronic disease that can have phases of worsening symptoms that alternate with periods of mild symptoms.
  • SLE is also known as discoid lupus or disseminated lupus erythematosus. SLE is the most common type of lupus.

Causes of SLE

  • The exact causes of SLE is not known, but several factors have been associated with the disease.
  1. The disease is not linked to a certain gene, but people with lupus often have family members with other autoimmune conditions.
  2. There may be environmental triggers like certain medications, a virus, physical or emotional stress, and trauma
  3. Medical professionals believe that the female hormone estrogen may play a role in causing SLE.


Symptoms can vary and can change over time. Common symptoms include:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Pain or swollen joints
  • Headaches
  • Rash on cheeks and nose called "butterfly" rash
  • Hair loss
  • Anemia
  • Blood clotting problems
  • Raynaud's syndrome (fingers turning white/blue and tingle when cold)
Other symptoms can depend on the part of the body the disease is attacking such as the digestive tract, the heart, or the skin.

Lupus symptoms are also symptoms of many other diseases, which makes diagnosis tricky.


Your doctor will do a physical exam and check for typical signs of lupus. Screening that can help your doctor come to an informed diagnosis include:

  • Blood test, such as antibody test and a complete blood count
  • Urinalysis
  • Chest X-Ray
The doctor might refer you to a rheumatologist. A rheumatologists specialize in treating joint and soft tissue disorders and autoimmune diseases.


SLE is not curable, the goal is to ease the symptoms of lupus. Treatment can vary depending on how severe your symptoms are and which parts of your body are affected. Treatment may include:

  • Anti-inflammation medications for joint pain and stiffness
  • Steroid creams for rashes
  • Corticosteroids of varying doses to minimize the immune response
  • Antimalarial drugs for skin and joint problems

How to Live With/Manage Systemic Lupus Erythematosus?

  • If you recently been diagnosed talk with your doctor about your diet and lifestyle habits.Your doctor might recommend eating or avoiding certain foods and minimizing stress to reduce the likelihood of triggering symptoms.
  • Lupus can take an emotional toll. Working with a trained counselor or support group in your area can help reduce stress, maintain positive mental health, and manage your illness.
Living with Lupus

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