Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack and inflame otherwise healthy tissues and organs. Lupus can cause inflammation of the linings of the lungs (pleurisy), leading to pain and lung damage. This type of inflammation may make it difficult to breathe and is more noticeable when sneezing, laughing, coughing, or taking a deep breath. Between 40 and 60 percent of people with lupus experience pain from pleurisy. Lupus also makes a person more susceptible to developing pneumonia.