Lupus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that can affect virtually any system in the body. It’s a kind of ’self-allergy’ where the body attacks its own cells and tissues, causing inflammation, pain, and possible organ damage. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems, including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart, and lungs.
The effects of lupus can vary greatly from person to person. For many people it represents little more than a nuisance condition, but for some the disease is very troublesome. This uncertainty presents a challenge for both the patient and the doctors who are trying to help.
There are two main forms of lupus. One form is called discoid lupus. This form affects only the skin. The other form, systemic lupus, involves the skin and joints and may involve internal organs such as the heart or kidney as well. The full name of this is systemic lupus erythematosus.