Systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE for short, is one of a number of illnesses known as the autoimmune diseases. Every individual is protected from "invasions" of viruses and bacteria by an immune systems' groups of cells in the blood and lymph system that circulate throughout the body and attack anything they recognize as "foreign." Without this defense system no one would live past infancy. In autoimmune disease, this system somehow becomes disordered, and an individual's immune system begins to attack his or her own tissues.
Lupus: a serious disease we know little about
What do you know about lupus? Based on the results of a survey from the Lupus Foundation of America, it is likely to be very little; around 72% of Americans aged 18-34 have either not heard of the disease or know nothing about it other than the name, despite this age group being at greatest risk for the condition.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system
produces auto-antibodies that attack healthy cells, and tissues,
including those of the skin, joints, heart lungs kidneys and brain.
There are different forms of lupus.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common,
accounting for around 70% of all cases. In SLE, any part of the body can be affected.
Other forms of lupus include cutaneous lupus erythematosus,
which is limited to the skin, and
drug-induced lupus erythematosus, which can be triggered by
certain prescription drugs. Symptoms of drug-induced lupus are like those of SLE.
Lupus is not contagious. You cannot “catch” lupus from someone or “give” lupus to someone.
Lupus is not like or related to cancer. Cancer is a condition of malignant, abnormal tissues that grows rapidly and spread into surrounding tissues.
Lupus is not like or related to HIV (Human Immune Deficiency Virus) or AIDS
(Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). In HIV or AIDS, the immune system is under, -active; in lupus, the immune system is overactive.
To help doctors diagnose lupus, this list of 11 common criteria, or measures, was developed by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). ACR is a professional association of rheumatologists. Rheumatologists are the doctors who specialize in treating diseases of the joints and muscles, like lupus. If you have at least four of the criteria on the list, either at the present time or at some time in the past, there is a strong chance that you have lupus.
How is lupus treated?
There is no cure for lupus but treatments can help you feel better and improve your symptoms. Your treatment will depend on your symptoms and needs. The goals of treatment are to:
Your treatment might include medicines to:
What research is being done on lupus?
Research on lupus focuses on:
Office of Womens Health https://www.womenshealth.gov/
Lupus Corner http://lupuscorner.com/
Lupus Foundation of America http://www.lupus.org/
Lupus Research Alliance https://www.lupusresearch.org/
Lupus News Today https://lupusnewstoday.com/