If you or a family member has been diagnosed with or are being evaluated for possible lupus, you will want to know as much as you can about the disease. "Understanding Lupus" will provide you with a guide to lupus so that you can better understand what lupus is.
What is Lupus?
This section will provide you with an overview of what lupus is and is not. How does lupus affect the body and how prevalent is lupus in the United States.
What Causes Lupus?
No one knows what causes lupus. Scientists think that people are born with the genes to develop lupus and that something brings on or "triggers" the disease and symptoms. However, a combination of genetics (heredity), environment, and hormones is involved.
Forms of Lupus
There are generally four recognized forms or types of lupus: Cutaneous (skin) Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Drug-induced Erythematosus and Neonatal Lupus. This section will discuss in more detail the different forms of lupus and how they can affect you.
What are the Symptoms of Lupus?
Symptoms of lupus vary widely depending on the individual case and the form of lupus present. Most people with lupus do not experience all of these symptoms. The section only serves to alert people to clues that might indicate the presence of lupus in an undiagnosed person.
What Kind of Doctors Treat Lupus?
The type of doctor or doctors that you may have treating your lupus will depend on the form of lupus you have and how the lupus is specify affecting you. It is not uncommon for a person with lupus to have a group or team of doctors working together to help develop the best treatment plan for you.
What are the Risks for Developing Lupus?
Many risk factors attribute to the development of lupus. This section will provide an overview on various risk factors that may contribute to the development of lupus.
Prognosis and Hopeful Future
We now know more about lupus than ever before. Dedicated researchers are on the brink of significant breakthroughs in the underlying science of the immune system, while public awareness and understanding continue to grow. Improvements in diagnosis, a greater understanding of how medications can work together to control symptoms, and increased knowledge of the effects of the disease have allowed better management of lupus over time. Today people with lupus are leading healthier lives and living longer than at any time in history.
Check out our new interactive "Could you have lupus?" symptom checklist!
This interactive tool was designed to help you better understand the many ways that lupus can affect your body. Each highlighted section features a text box which provides a brief description of how lupus can damage a particular organ or system, from the brain to the blood vessels. You will also be able to go further into the Website for more detailed information. Included is a set of health questions for you to answer that will help your doctor know if you may be at risk for lupus.
The History of Lupus Erythematosus
Take a short walk into the history of lupus from its initial scientific observations and declaration as a disease through the advancements in its therapeutic treatments. How did lupus get its name? When were the first symptoms identified? Who were the leading medical scientists working to define and develop treatments for this disease?
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Ask the Experts
Check out the LFA "Ask the Expert" archives and learn more about lupus on a variety of topics including skin issues, pregnancy, pediatric lupus, kidney disease, women and men’s issues, medications and more. Our panel of nationally-renowned lupus medical experts provides insight, support and answers into the puzzling and often times frustrating issues of lupus. We invite you to submit your own questions into the LFA through our website.
Learn from the Experts
Lupus: Learn from the Experts is an education series from the Lupus Foundation of America, Inc. The program consists of free educational telephone conference calls on a variety of topics designed to provide you with important information about living with lupus. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading lupus experts from the comfort and privacy of your home.
LFA Approved Publications
The Lupus Foundation of America Patient Education Committee has reviewed and approved a number publications and other materials for use in educating individuals and families about lupus and its health effects.