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Lupus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus, pronounced /sɪˈstɛmɪk ˈluːpəs ˌɛrəˌθiməˈtoʊsəs/) is a chronic autoimmune disease that can be fatal, though with recent medical advances, fatalities are becoming increasingly rare. As with other autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks the body’s cells and tissue, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage. SLE can affect any part of the body, but most often harms the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys, and nervous system. The course of the disease is unpredictable, with periods of illness (called flares) alternating with remissions. Lupus can occur at any age, and is most common in women, particularly of non-European descent.[1] Lupus is treatable symptomatically, mainly with corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, though there is currently no cure. Survival in patients with SLE in the United States, Canada, and Europe is approximately 95% at 5 years, 90% at 10 years, and 78% at 20 years.[2]

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease. Clinically, it can affect multiple organ systems, including the heart, skin, joints, kidneys, and nervous system. There are several types of lupus; generally, when the word "lupus" alone is used, it refers to systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE, as discussed in this article. Other types include:

SLE is one of several diseases known as "the great imitators"[5] because its symptoms vary so widely, it often mimics or is mistaken for other illnesses because the symptoms come and go unpredictably. Diagnosis can be elusive, with patients sometimes suffering unexplained symptoms and untreated SLE for years. Common initial and chronic complaints are fever, malaise, joint pains, myalgias, fatigue and temporary loss of cognitive abilities. Because they are so often seen with other diseases, these signs and symptoms are not part of the diagnostic criteria for SLE. When occurring in conjunction with other signs and symptoms (see below), however, they are considered suggestive.[6]


The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lupus erythematosus".