Systemic lupus erythematous

What is it?

Systemic lupus erythematous — commonly known as lupus — is a systemic inflammatory disease that occurs because the immune system is attacking its own tissues and organs.


  • Fatigue
  • Join pain and swelling
  • Skin rashes
  • Fever
  • Sores in the mouth or nose
  • Anemia
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Kidney failure

Risk factors

  • Family history and genetics
  • Female gender
  • Ethnicity: African American, Native American and Asian American


Diagnosing systemic lupus erythematous

  • Complete medical history and physical exam
  • Laboratory testing
  • Kidney or skin biopsy in some cases

Treating systemic lupus erythematous

  • Medications to suppress abnormal immune response
  • Choice of medication depends of severity of disease and organs involved
  • Medication options include hydroxychloroquine, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD), azathioprine and methotrexate

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