Lupus is a chronic and presently incurable illness of the immune system. It affects men, women and children.
When most people use the term ‘lupus’ they are usually referring to systematic lupus erythematosus which is a type of lupus that can affect any body tissue and organ.
Lupus 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 lupus in certain people.
The symptoms of lupus can be many and varied and can range from mild to severe. Many people will experience long periods of time with few or no symptoms and then experience a sudden flare up when their symptoms can become particularly severe.
Even mild cases of lupus can have a considerable impact on a person’s quality of life, particularly because they include chronic fatigue, which can be distressing and cause feelings of depression and anxiety.
The symptoms of lupus often mimic other diseases making it difficult to diagnose. Many lupus patients report months or years of suffering symptoms before they are properly diagnosed.
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