Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body's immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems, including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart, lungs and brain.Lupus occurs more frequently in women. The outlook for people with lupus was once grim, but diagnosis and treatment of lupus has improved considerably. With treatment, most people with lupus can lead active lives.
Depending on which body systems are affected by the disease, patients with lupus may experience:
Diagnosing lupus is difficult because signs and symptoms vary considerably from person to person. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly, may be mild or severe, and may be temporary or permanent. They may change over time and overlap with those of many other disorders. Therefore, doctors may not initially consider lupus until the features become more obvious or presence of supportive investigations. Even then, lupus can be challenging to diagnose because nearly all people with lupus experience fluctuations (called flares) in disease activity. At times the disease may become severe and at other times subside completely.