What is lupus?
Lupus is a disease of your immune system. It is more common in females, and may have a genetic link. It can affect any organ in the body, although the most commonly affected are the kidneys and the skin. Lupus can also affect the heart, lungs and brain.
The symptoms of lupus can be many and varied, however, the major symptoms are joint and muscle pain, and tiredness. Other features include: rashes, depression, anaemia (low blood count), fever, headaches, hair loss, mouth ulcers. The symptoms vary greatly from person to person – some people may be unlucky enough to be quite debilitated by the symptoms of lupus, while others may only experience mild symptoms.
How is lupus treated?
Lupus can be treated by an anti-malarial drug called hydroxychloroquine, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Courses of steroids can also be used, such as prednisolone, to suppress the inflammatory processes that drive this disease.
In more severe cases, immune suppressants may be used, such as azathioprine, cyclophosphamide or methotrexate.
Where can I find out more about lupus?
- What is lupus? – including more information about the condition, how it is diagnosed and treated
- Living with lupus – a guide to managing the condition, including how to discuss it with family and friends, and how to claim benefits
Arthritis Research UK
- Lupus (SLE) – extensive lupus information page from Arthritis Research UK