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Understanding Lupus

What is Lupus?

Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system can affect any system, that occurs when your body's immune system attacks tissues and organ in the body. This autoimmune disease senses that different parts of the body do not belong for unknown reasons and attacks these parts of the body and the connective tissue as though it were foreign, causing inflammation. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.


No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly, may be mild or severe, and may be temporary or permanent. Most people with lupus have mild disease characterized by episodes — called flares — when signs and symptoms get worse for a while, then improve or even disappear completely for a time.

Who Does it Affect?

Anyone can get lupus, but it affects 9 times as many women as men, usually those ages 15 to 45 years.

Lupus is more common in Black or African Americans, Hispanic or Latinos, American Indians and Asian Americans than in Caucasians. If you have a family member with lupus or other autoimmune disease, you may be likely to develop lupus.

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