Lupus—systemic lupus erythematosus (S.L.E.)—is a chronic and often disabling autoimmune disease.
More than 1.5 million Americans, and millions more worldwide, have lupus.
Most are young women of childbearing age who suffer from such symptoms as intense fatigue and exhaustion, joint pains, thinking and memory problems, and skin rashes. Men, children, and older women get lupus too. Read more about who gets lupus
Symptoms, and the course of the disease, vary widely.
Some people with lupus develop kidney problems, for example, while others get premature heart disease, and others still suffer from strokes or develop lung inflammation.
Although it’s very unlikely that a person will experience all of the symptoms of lupus, it’s smart to know what to look for. Read about lupus symptoms
There is no single laboratory test that can determine if a person has lupus.
And because many symptoms of lupus are vague—generalized fatigue, joint pain, skin rash—that can come and go over periods of weeks and months, it sometimes takes years for a diagnosis to be made.
That’s unfortunate, because it’s best to treat many of the complications early on, before they cause lasting damage.
No new treatments have been approved for lupus in 50 years, and the ones that are FDA-approved often cause toxic and unwanted side effects. But there are sometimes options with off-lable drugs, and treatment is important to stop lasting damage in many cases. Find out more here
No one knows why lupus occurs, or how to prevent or cure it.
But researchers finally are making headway, and a surge in better diagnostic techniques and treatment methods has led to more effective management of the disease and its complications.
Just 20 years ago, only 40 percent of people with lupus were expected to live more than 3 years following a diagnosis. Now, with earlier diagnosis, the latest therapies, and careful monitoring, most people with lupus can look forward to a normal lifespan.
As with so many illnesses, knowledge is power with lupus.
Find out how lupus can affect you, so that you can fight lupus in body and mind.
Skills to cultivate include the ability to:
Find out how others have coped with lupus in these stories.
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