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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease. In this disease, the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs.


The cause of SLE is not clearly known. It may be linked to the following factors:




Certain medicines

SLE is more common in women than men by nearly 10 to 1. It may occur at any age. However, it appears most often in young women between the ages of 15 and 44. In the US, the disease is more common in African Americans, Asian Americans, African Caribbeans, and Hispanic Americans.


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Symptoms has been expanded.

Symptoms vary from person to person, and may come and go. Everyone with SLE has joint pain and swelling at some time. Some develop arthritis. SLE often affects the joints of the fingers, hands, wrists, and knees.

Other common symptoms include:

Chest pain when taking a deep breath.


Fever with no other cause.

General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise).

Hair loss.

Weight loss.

Mouth sores.

Sensitivity to sunlight.

Skin rash -- A "butterfly" rash develops in about half the people with SLE. The rash is mostly seen over the cheeks and bridge of the nose. It can be widespread. It gets worse in sunlight.

Swollen lymph nodes.

Other symptoms and signs depend on which part of the body is affected:

Brain and nervous system -- Headaches, weakness, numbness, tingling, seizures, vision problems, memory and personality changes

Digestive tract -- Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting

Heart -- Valve problems, inflammation of heart muscle or heart lining (pericardium)

Lung -- Buildup of fluid in the pleural space, difficulty breathing, coughing up blood

Skin -- Sores in the mouth

Kidney -- Swelling in the legs

Circulation -- Clots in veins or arteries, inflammation of blood vessels, constriction of blood vessels in response to cold (Raynaud phenomenon)

Blood abnormalities including anemia, low white blood cell or platelet count

Some people have only skin symptoms. This is called discoid lupus.


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