Lupus is the common name for systemic lupus erythematosus, also called SLE. According to the Lupus Foundation, 90% of lupus patients are women, mostly of childbearing age. There is no known cause, no single test to arrive at a diagnosis, and no known cure.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease where the body cannot distinguish between healthy tissue and foreign invaders, thus creating antibodies that attack anything and everything. The inflammation caused by these attacks contributes to swelling, pain, and damage to tissue and organs.
- extreme fatigue (tiredness)
- painful or swollen joints
- anemia (low numbers of red blood cells, or low total blood volume)
- swelling (edema) in feet, legs, hands, and/or around eyes
- pain in chest on deep breathing (pleurisy)
- butterfly-shaped rash across cheeks and nose
- sun- or light-sensitivity
- hair loss
- abnormal blood clotting
- fingers turning white and/or blue when cold (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
- mouth or nose ulcers
Because of the many different symptoms, lupus affects each patient differently. No two lupus patients have the same story and each individual’s lupus story may change day to day. There are good days (remission) and bad (flares), and because of this lupus is unpredictable.