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What Exactly Is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic disease with a variety of symptoms caused by inflammation in one or more parts of the body and is not contagious. It belongs in the family of diseases that includes rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes, and scleroderma. The most common type of lupus is SLE (systematic lupus erythematosus).

It's a complex and baffling condition that can target any tissue or organ of the body, including skin, muscles, joints, blood, and blood vessels, lungs, heart, kidneys, and the brain. However there are other types of lupus which mainly affect the skin.

The Cause

The exact cause of lupus is still unknown. It is likely to be due to a combination of factors. For example, a person's genetic make-up and exposure to certain unknown trigger factors may provide the right environment in which lupus can develop.

Anyone can get Lupus: women, men, children. Between the ages of 15 and 45, eight times more women than men get lupus. In those under 15 and over 45, both sexes are affected equally.


Each person's experience can be very different. Some people will have only a few of the many possible symptoms, because it can target any of the body's tissues and this is why lupus is often hard to pin down or diagnose.

Before symptoms specific to lupus occur, flu-like symptoms may appear, along with severe fatigue, a sudden unexplained loss or gain in weight, headaches, hair loss, hives, high blood pressure, or changes in the color of fingers in the cold. A person with lupus may experience:

Joint pain, sometimes with swelling, redness, and heat.

A red rash across upper cheeks, and bridge of the nose.

Extreme fatigue.
An unusual reaction to sunlight.

A red scaly rash

Small, usually painless sores inside the nose or mouth

Chest pain, worse when lying down or inhaling.

Swelling of feet and legs, weight gain.

Seizures or sever psychological symptoms.

Abnormalities in blood chemistry which show up in blood tests.

This is NOT a complete list of symptoms, and the diagnosis of lupus MUST BE made by a doctor.

If you need more information about Lupus, we suggest the following web sites:

Dorough Lupus Foundation
The Lupus Site
Linving With Lupus