What is lupus?
Lupus is a chronic and presently incurable illness of the immune system.
When most people use the term ‘lupus’ they are usually referring to systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE) which is a type of lupus that can affect any body tissue and organ. The information in this section focusses on SLE.
Another milder form of lupus which affects the skin is called is discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE). Read more about the symptoms of DLE.
SLE is an autoimmune condition which means that it is caused by problems with the immune system. Rather than just fighting viruses, bacteria and infection by producing antibodies, your body starts to attack and destroy healthy cells, tissues and organs.
As with other more common autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and coeliacs disease, it is thought that a combination of genetic and environmental factors are responsible for triggering the onset of SLE in certain people.