Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years. In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs (“foreign invaders,” like the flu). In someone with lupus, the body’s autoimmune system creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy HEALTHY tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.
No one knows what causes lupus. Scientists think that people are born with the genes to develop lupus and that something brings on or “triggers” the disease and symptoms. However, a combination of genetics (heredity), environment, and hormones is involved.
Lupus is a significant public health issue that requires national attention and action now. Lupus can range from mild to life-threatening, and should always be treated by a doctor. With good medical care, most people with non-organ-threatening lupus can lead a full life. Having lupus can make the demands of everyday life challenging. When lupus is active, symptoms of joint stiffness, pain, extreme fatigue, confusion, or depression can make even simple tasks difficult, and sometimes impossible. And, because you may not have any visible signs of disease, the people around you may not realize how much discomfort and pain you are experiencing, or they may not know that you are sick at all.
For more information on lupus please check:
The Lupus Foundation of America website at http://www.lupus.org/newsite/index.html
6 Minute Video on Lupus: http://www.lupus.org/newsite/pages/lupus-target-awareness.html
LUPUS UK at http://www.lupusuk.org.uk/