What is lupus?

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Lupus, more properly called systemic lupus erythematosis, is an autoimmune disease. It is much more common in women than in men, and affects African Americans more frequently than whites. Its exact causes are unknown, but the disease is similar in many ways to rheumatoid arthritis.

Normally the immune system creates antibodies, which fight off illness, in response to exposure to antigens, which are foreign or non-self proteins that occur in bacteria and viruses. In lupus, the body's immune system loses the ability to distinguish between antigens and normal body proteins, and begins to create antibodies which attack various body tissues. Some cases of lupus are limited to a single tissue, such as the skin, while other cases damage multiple tissues, involving the heart, joints, lungs, brain, blood, kidneys, or other organs.

One form of lupus is reversible. It is called drug-induced lupus and is a reaction to one of a long list of prescription medications. Generally drug-induced lupus is limited to the skin, and it subsides when the person stops taking the medication. The third link below has a list of the drugs most likely to cause this problem, but more than 400 have been reported in all.

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ako6777 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can impact multiple sites on the body.  An autoimmune disease is a disease where the body begins attacking itself.  Scientists are unsure as to why the attack begins, but they believe there is a trigger in the environment that starts the progression.  Most believe the trigger is an virus that enters the body and causes our immune response to go haywire. There are many different types of autoimmune diseases.  They are differentiated by what part of the body they impact.  Lupus is known to impact the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, heart, and several more body locations.  Some of the symptoms of lupus are: skin rash, hair loss, joint swelling, light sensitivity, headaches, depression, anxiety, fever, swollen glands, and etc.  There is no known cure for lupus. Treatment consists of treating the individual symptoms.

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dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or Lupus is classified as an autoimmune disease. The body essentially attacks itself causing a widespread inflammory response. The inflammation affects every organ especially the joints.

Lupus has an idiopathic etiology. Common complaints range from arthalgias to arthritis. Diagnosis is from history and physical, a positive ANA titer, CBC showing marked leukopenia, ESR (sed. rate), and positive RA factor. A classic "butterfly" rash may be present on the face.

No cure exist for Lupus, treatment is supportive with NSAIDS and steroids. Women of color are affected more than any other population.

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Lupus is an autoimmune disease that is chronic and can damage any part of the body including skin, joints, and organs. When the word chronic is used it means that the symptoms last for more that six weeks. The term autoimmune means that the body cannot tell the difference between foreign invaders and the body's healthy tissues. The immune system creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. It is these autoantibodies that cause pain, inflammation, and damage to the body.

Lupus may be caused by genes, the environment, or hormones. The exact reasons are not exactly known. It could be due to many different factors.

There are four different types of lupus. They are:

1. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus-This is the most common type of lupus. It can include symptoms such as inflammation of the kidneys and increased blood pressure in the lungs.

2. Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus-This type of lupus affects only the skin.

3. Drug-induced Lupus Erythematosus-This type of lupus is caused by certain prescription medications.

4. Neonatal Lupus-This type of lupus is found only in infants of women who have lupus.

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thiksha | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease marked by its effect on various parts of the body, including the joints, skin, blood, and kidneys.

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mirudhulla | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease marked by its effect on various parts of the body, including the joints, skin, blood, and kidneys. ...

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