What is lupus?

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune condition in which the immune system produces antibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. Lupus in Latin means “the wolf,” which is a violent, unpredictable animal. Lupus causes many symptoms and affects people differently. People with lupus frequently have joint pain, rash, hair loss, painless mouth ulcers, pleurisy, anemia, and low blood count or increased bleeding risk. Lupus can also affect the kidneys or central nervous system.
Lupus is a short name for the disease, lupus erythematosus. Lupus is called an autoimmune disease because the immune system, which usually protects the body from disease, turns against the body, causing harm to organs and tissues.

There are two types of lupus. Systemic lupus erythematosus can harm your skin, joints, kidneys and brain and may be fatal. The other type, called discoid lupus erythematosus, affects only your skin.

Different people get different symptoms. These may include skin rashes, joint pain, hair loss, sun sensitivity, tiredness, weight loss, fever, swelling of lymph glands, chest pain and nerve involvement.

To diagnose the disease, your doctor will do a physical examination, get your medical history and do special tests such as x-rays and a blood test for antinuclear antibody (ANA).

Most people with lupus may need to take drugs for many years, but do well long-term. No matter how severe symptoms are or are not, people with lupus should have periodic checkups.
Suhail Kumar, MD
Lupus is a systemic connective tissue disorder in which a dysfunctional immune system attacks its own tissues.  Virtually any part of the body including joints, muscles, and organs such as the skin, lungs, heart, kidneys, brain can be affected.
Lupus is an autoimmune illness where the body's own immune system attacks itself. Symptoms of lupus can include fever without any signs of infection, muscle and joint aches, swollen joints, itchy skin and hives, a butterfly red rash on the face, increased skin sensitivity to the sun, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, weight loss and hair loss.
This inflammatory type of arthritis causes joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and fatigue, and is most common in women ages twenty to forty. In about 20 percent of patients, rashes are common, including a facial rash over the cheeks called a “butterfly rash.” Many patients are sensitive to sunlight, which can worsen the rash. Hair loss and sensitivity to cold exposure in the hands and feet (a condition called Raynaud’s phenomenon) can occur. Most important is the possibility of internal organ disease, most common in the kidney but possibly affecting any organ.

Blood tests can help confirm SLE. About 95 percent of all cases have a positive antinuclear antibody (ANA) test, although many with a positive blood test do not actually have SLE. Once the diagnosis is made then proper treatment can start, but it is very dependent on which problems of SLE are present. Most cases are controlled without long-term damage to internal organs, but patients need regular medical follow-up to monitor internal organ function.
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Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that produces symptoms throughout the body. Autoimmune diseases develop when the body's natural immune system charged with fighting off invaders such as viruses and bacteria mistakes healthy tissue as foreign and mounts an attack. Antibodies, which are the immune cells at the center of the attack, are somehow given faulty instructions. In the case of lupus, these rogue self-attacking antibodies (autoantibodies) attack cells in the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, blood vessels, and blood. The cause is unknown but certain environmental experiences and medical conditions seem to trigger the disease in genetically susceptible people.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.