Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation in the body. Sufferers' immune systems attack their own organs and tissue. Due to the unpredictable nature of the condition, lupus patients can experience a wide range of symptoms as the disease may choose to attack the skin, joints, kidneys, blood cells, brain, lungs and heart. As far as diseases go, lupus is a tough one to diagnose. Most of the signs and symptom of the condition are seen in many other illnesses and each patient has his/her own unique set of lupus symptoms. As with other autoimmune disorders, there is still much that is a mystery about the condition, including what causes it. Genetics, a virus and sunlight are only a few of the suspected culprits.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation in the body…

Sufferers' immune systems attack their own organs and tissue. Due to the unpredictable nature of the condition, lupus patients can experience a wide range of symptoms as the disease may choose to attack the skin, joints, kidneys, blood cells, brain, lungs and heart. As far as diseases go, lupus is a tough one to diagnose. Most of the signs and symptom of the condition are seen in many other illnesses and each patient has his/her own unique set of lupus symptoms. As with other autoimmune disorders, there is still much that is a mystery about the condition, including what causes it. Genetics, a virus and sunlight are only a few of the suspected culprits.

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Probably the most tell-tale sign of the condition is the lupus rash. Appearing in many, but certainly not all people affected by lupus, the rash affects the cheeks of the face and often appears in a shape that resembles the wings of a butterfly. If a doctor suspects lupus there are several tests that may be run to help narrow things down. Certain blood tests, urine tests and kidney and liver tests are often done, as well as chest x-rays and an echocardiogram if the heart and lungs are thought to be affected.

Patients with lupus are diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) which can involve the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, etc., discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) which predominantly affects the skin, or a version of the disease along the spectrum in between. There is currently no cure for lupus, but there are treatments available to make symptoms more manageable and decelerate the damage to the body. Learning to keep stress to a minimum and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also help keep the body strong.

Take this brief quiz to help determine if you should speak to a doctor about the symptoms of lupus: