What Is Systemic Lupus?

By katherine
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Sometimes, for reasons that are not fully understood, something goes wrong the immune system, and it starts attacking healthy tissues of the body. The term for a condition in which this occurs is an autoimmune disorder.

Lupus is a name given to four different types of autoimmune disorders that cause similar symptoms. The most common of these is systemic lupus erythematosus. This is a condition that can cause inflammation in multiple areas of the body, resulting in a wide range of symptoms. Most people who talk about “lupus” are referring specifically to SLE.

1. Prevalence

Systemic lupus erythematosus is a common condition, but estimates vary as to just how prevalent it is. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asserts that there are at least 322,000 people in the United States with definite or probable SLE but acknowledges that this is a conservative figure. The Lupus Foundation of America reports 1.5 million diagnosed cases and speculates that many more may be undiagnosed.

SLE can affect anyone at almost any age. However, most new cases occur in women between the ages of 15 and 45. Approximately 20% of SLE cases are diagnosed when patients are children or teenagers, although it rarely occurs in children younger than 5. It occurs more often in Asians and African Americans than in Caucasians.

Systemic Lupus

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