Lupus is an autoimmune disease. It inflames:
It causes the immune system to make antibodies that attack the body's healthy cells and tissue.
The cause of lupus is unknown. Researchers believe it may be a combination of:
These risk factors increase your chance of developing lupus. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
Symptoms can be mild or very severe. For some people, only part of the body (such as skin) is affected. For others, many parts are affected. Though symptoms can be chronic, they can flare up and get better on and off.
Common Lupus Rash Sites
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Other symptoms may include:
A pregnant woman who has lupus may experience complications, like a flair-up of symptoms, high blood pressure, and kidney inflammation. There may also be problems with the pregnancy (such as premature birth, miscarriage, restricted growth in the fetus).
Diagnosing lupus can be difficult. It can take time to identify the condition because you may develop more symptoms over time.
To aid in making the diagnosis, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has created the following criteria. You must have 4 out of the 11 items to be diagnosed with lupus:
To find out if you do meet the criteria, your doctor will order tests, such as:
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may diagnosis you with lupus even if you have less than four of the ACR’s criteria.
Your doctor will also rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms, such as:
Treatment options depend on your symptoms.
There are many different kinds of medicines that are used to treat lupus. Examples include:
Your doctor may recommend that you take a combination of medicines.
Medicines for severe symptoms include:
In addition to taking medicine, your doctor may recommend that you:
You cannot prevent lupus because the cause is unknown.
To prevent flare-ups of symptoms: