In the human body, the immune system provides protection against bacteria, viruses or other foreign substances that can make us sick. People with lupus have an immune system that does not recognize their own body cells. As a result, the immune system attacks its own healthy cells and tissues and causes inflammation and damage to various parts of the body. Some of the most common symptoms include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, joint swelling, rashes, hair loss and sensitivity to the sun. More severe complications include damage to organs such as the kidneys, lungs and brain.
Lupus is a complex disease;
no two cases are alike
Lupus is unpredictable. Symptoms vary widely from person to person and can come and go. When symptoms appear, it is called a "flare." Figuring out the triggers for flares helps lupus patients and their healthcare teams better manage the disease.
Although lupus can affect anyone, it is most commonly seen in females of African American, Asian, or Hispanic descent. It is estimated that lupus may affect around five million people worldwide.1 Despite this, there is still a lack of lupus awareness because the symptoms are not consistent and it can be difficult for others to understand the condition. Researchers are conducting studies which can help us to learn more about lupus. Recent advances in research have helped lupus patients to live more productive lives.
Because lupus can lead to a wide range of symptoms, there are a number of medications used in its management. Despite the significant medical advances seen in the past half a century, there has not been a new medication approved specifically for lupus treatment in more than 40 years. Further research is being done to gain a better understanding of lupus, which may result in additional treatment options in the future.