Lupus is an autoimmune disease. It inflames:
It causes the immune system to make antibodies that attack the body's healthy cells and tissue.
The cause of lupus is unknown. Researchers believe it may be a combination of:
These risk factors increase your chance of developing lupus. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
Symptoms can be mild or very severe. For some people, only part of the body (eg, skin) is affected. For others, many parts are affected. Though symptoms can be chronic, they can flare up and get better on and off.
Facial butterfly rash is hallmark of Lupus.
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Other symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical and family history, and perform a physical exam. The diagnosis is based on symptoms, especially for young women. No single test can determine if you have lupus. But a number of blood tests for specific antibodies can confirm diagnosis.
Treatment depends on symptoms.
Medications for mild symptoms:
Medications for severe symptoms include:
You cannot prevent lupus because the cause is unknown.
To prevent flare-ups of symptoms:
Last reviewed February 2008 by Jill Landis, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.