Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system, the body's defence system, produces antibodies that attack the body's own tissues, causing inflammation.
There are two main types of lupus:
- Discoid lupus where only skin is affected and usually looked after by dermatologists
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
SLE affects 1 in 1000 people and is much more common in women. The most common symptoms of SLE are:
- Joint pains
- Raynauds phenomenon
- Skin rashes
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
Other symptoms which can be quite common are:
- Weight loss
- Swelling of the lymph glands
Lupus can affect many different parts of the body, and when internal organs such as the heart, lungs, brain or kidneys are involved it can be much more serious. But most people will only have one or a few of the possible symptoms, and many people will find that the symptoms come and go. Diagnosis and treatment require specialist rheumatological care.