What is Lupus?
Lupus is a very serious, chronic (life-long), inflammatory, autoimmune disease. Autoimmune is a class of diseases that share one characteristic, they all involve the immune system turning against the body. Our immune systems are designed to fight off foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. With autoimmune diseases like Lupus, the immune system sees normal healthy cells as foreign invaders and attacks them. This causes the body to respond naturally with inflammation to expel the invader. This inflammation is what causes the pain, and discomfort as well as sometimes permanent damage to the cells. Lupus is also a disease of flares (periods of activity) and remissions (periods of inactive or less active disease).
There are several different kinds of Lupus:
There is no cure for Lupus at this time. We also do not know what causes Lupus. Genetics, drugs, hormones, UV light, viruses, etc. are all possible contributing factors to SLE. People with a family member that has an autoimmune disease are far more likely to develop SLE than the general population. Women are also far more likely to develop the disease than men so hormonal factors are being studied. One thing that researchers are sure about is that none of the different types of Lupus are contagious.
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