What Is Lupus?

CAT Scan

Lupus, also called systemic lupus erythematosus, is an autoimmune disease affecting the connective tissues and organs of the body. Like other autoimmune diseases, lupus occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly recognizes the body’s own healthy tissue as a dangerous foreign substance and tries to eliminate it. There are four main types of lupus: systemic, discoid, drug-induced, and neonatal. 

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus:
    Often called SLE, this form of lupus has the ability to adversely affect any organ in the human body, from the joints to the nervous tissue. This form of lupus often leads to symptoms that affect the whole body, such as fatigue.
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus:
    This form of lupus is confined to the skin and only produces symptoms there.
  • Drug-induced lupus:
    This disease can occur due to a side effect of certain prescription medications.Although it presents just like SLE, it is different in that it is caused by a drug and can usually be cured by discontinuing the drug in question.
  • Neonatal lupus:
    Neonatal lupus is seen in developing infants of mothers who suffer from SLE or Sjogren’s disease.

Although the cause of SLE is unknown, medical scientists have determined that black, Native American, Asian, or Hispanic women of childbearing age are at an increased risk of developing the condition. To treat lupus, physicians will often prescribe medications to control the symptoms and reduce any flare-ups of the disease. The symptoms of a lupus flare-up typically include:

  • Inflamed, swollen, and painful joints, usually affecting the hands and feet
  • Fever of one to two degrees above normal
  • Weight loss, fatigue, loss of appetite
  • A characteristic skin rash on the nose and cheeks which resembles a butterfly

Do you still have questions about lupus and its effects? You can learn more about this disease by visiting the Lupus Foundation website or contacting the healthcare experts at West Hills Hospital . Our staff is always available to provide helpful medical advice—call us today at (818) 676-4000.

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