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What is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the skin, joints, muscles, and many other organs in the body. It develops primarily in women during childbearing years and is characterized by the immune system attacking multiple body systems. This causes inflammation sufficient to damage organs and tissue. 

There are three main types of lupus: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), and drug-induced lupus. SLE is the most common type, known to produce inflammation in multiple body parts. Discoid lupus causes a skin rash, while drug-induced lupus can be triggered by certain drugs and usually improves once the medication is stopped. Systemic lupus is about 10 times more prevalent in women than in men and it usually develops in adults between ages 18 and 45. The early symptoms of lupus are usually vague and easily confused with other disorders. 

These include fever over 100°F, painful red swollen joints, facial rash, anemia, hair loss, mouth or nose ulcers, and seizures. Kidney problems are also a potential complication of lupus.


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