Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a problem with the immune system. It causes the immune system to make antibodies that attack the body's healthy cells and tissue. There are many forms of lupus, but SLE is the most common.
The cause is unknown.
SLE is more common in women aged 15-45 years old. It is also more common in people who are Black, Asian, and Hispanic.
SLE can’t be cured. Symptoms can be managed with medicines and lifestyle changes. Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. It will depend on the severity and location of your symptoms.
There are many medicines that are used, such as:
Drugs to suppress the immune system
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
You may need to take more than one of these medicines.
Some changes can help you prevent flare-ups. Changes to your medicines may also be used to prevent them. Work with your doctor to make a plan. This may mean that you:
Learn the signs of a flare-up and call your doctor right away
Get treatment for any cuts or infections right away
Manage symptoms for other chronic health problems
Avoid sun exposure
If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit
Eat healthy foods
Get enough rest
Exercise regularly if your doctor says it is okay
SLE is best managed with strong communication between you and your healthcare team. Make sure to go to all appointments as advised. Let your doctor know about any changes in your health or care program.
Depression in people with SLE is common. Surround yourself with supportive family and friends. If you are still having problems, seek counseling or join a support group.
There is no way to prevent SLE since the cause is not known.
Handout on health: Systemic lupus erythematosus. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Lupus/default.asp. Updated June 30, 2016. Accessed August 15, 2018.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.