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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > A-Z Health Topics > I-L > Lupus
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Your immune system turns against your body's own cells in an autoimmune disease   

  • Normally your immune system or disease-fighting cells work to protect you from disease     
    • Destroys harmful viruses, bacteria and germs invading your body
    • Something goes wrong with your immune system in lupus
    • Health cells and tissues are attacked
    • Causes inflammation, pain, and damage in parts of the body
  •   No known cure for lupus but there are effective treatments
    • 80-90% of people with lupus can expect to live a normal life span

Types of Lupus    

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus  ( SLE )
    • Most common type
    • May affect joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, blood vessels, nervous system, blood, and brain
    • Flares and remissions may occur
    • Every year studies report more than 16,000 new cases
  • Discoid lupus erthyematosus (DLE)
    • Causes a skin rash that doesn�t go away
  • Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus
    • Causes skin sores on parts of the body exposed to sun


Lupus may be hard for your health care provider to diagnosis

  • Often mistaken for another disease
  • May take a long time to diagnose
  • Develops slowly in most people
  • Symptoms come and go
    • Signs of lupus differ from one person to another
    • Most people affected only in a few parts of their body
  • Disease of flares and remission
    • Flares -when symptoms worsen and you feel ill
    • Remission -when symptoms improve and you feel better

Your doctor will decide how to best manage and treat your symptoms

  • Early detection, treatment, and patient education help to control lupus
  • Be sure to tell your health care provider right away about any new symptoms
  • You may need to see special kinds of doctors to help treat the many symptoms of lupus
  • Your treatment may include using medicines


You should always be under a doctor�s care even when your symptoms are mild.