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Conditions InDepth: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

En Español (Spanish Version)

Main Page | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Screening | Reducing Your Risk | Talking to Your Doctor | Living With Lupus | Resource Guide

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of joints, tendons, skin, blood vessels and other connective tissue, and organs. SLE causes the immune system to produce antibodies that attack the body's healthy cells and tissue. Of all the forms of lupus, SLE is the most common and most well-known.

Components of the Immune System

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The cause of SLE is unknown. The manifestations of the disease are due to antibodies that attack the body's own tissues. Why these antibodies appear is unknown. There are certainly genetic factors involved: identical twins share the disease one-quarter to one-half of the time, and it tends to run in families. The disease may be triggered by environmental factors, such as infections or chemicals.

Antibody

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The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that approximately 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus. Ninety percent of people diagnosed with the disease are women. It mainly occurs between the ages of 15-45. SLE is 2-3 times more prevalent among women of color, including African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans.

What are the risk factors for SLE? | What are the symptoms of SLE? | How is SLE diagnosed? | What are the treatments for SLE? | Are there screening tests for SLE? | How can I reduce my risk of SLE? | What questions should I ask my doctor? | What is it like to live with lupus? | Where can I get more information about SLE?

 

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