*Definition of Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain. Normally the body’s immune system makes proteins called antibodies that protect the body against viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders. These foreign invaders are called antigens.
In an autoimmune disorder like lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then makes antibodies that, simply put, attack the body itself. This causes inflammation, pain and damage to various organs.
*Definition from: the Lupus Campaign Site sponsored by the Office of Women’s Health.
Types of Lupus:
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): This is the most common form of Lupus and is sometimes called Systemic Lupus or Lupus. It is the one described on this site. “Systemic” means that it can affect many parts of the body such as the heart lungs, kidneys and brain. It affects mostly women of child bearing age (15-45) but is found in other age groups also. Lupus can range from mild to life threatening.
- Cutaneous (Discoid) Lupus: This is a chronic skin disorder. A red rash may appear or the skin may change color. Rashes may last for days or years and may recur. A small percentage of people with this form of Lupus can develop SLE, Systemic Lupus.
- Drug-induced: This type of Lupus is caused by certain medications. The symptoms are similar to SLE but they typically go away completely when the medication is changed.
- Neonatal: is a rare disease that can occur in newborn babies.
Some Facts about Lupus
- Lupus is Not Contagious;
- Lupus is Not Cancer or AIDS;
- The cause of lupus is unknown;
- Strikes women 10-15 times more frequently than men;
- Affects African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans more than Caucasians;
- Is more prevalent in females, but tends to be more severe in males;
- Can be difficult to diagnose –diagnosis often takes 1-3 years;
- Ranges from mild to life-threatening;
- Only 10% of Lupus individuals have a close relative that has or may develop Lupus;
- An estimated 16,000 Americans develop Lupus each year;
- When symptoms appear it is called a “flare”.
The articles, statements, and information by any authors or contributors on this website or links do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of the lupusgenesee.org. Web content supplied is of an informative nature and is not meant for self diagnosis and/or treatment. Lupus varies among individuals and medical management must be individualized. If you are concerned about any aspect of your illness, we advise you to consult with your physician.