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Lupus is a disease of the immune system that can affect joints, skin, kidneys, blood, and other parts of the body. The immune system is your body's natural defense against infections, such as bacteria and viruses. In most cases the term "lupus" refers to the form known as systemic lupus erythematous, or SLE for short. Today1.5 to 2 million Americans live with some form of lupus according to Lupus Foundation of America, and it is now known to be an autoimmune disease. About 70 percent of the people who have lupus have the systemic form that affects multiple systems in your body.
The cause of lupus, with the exception of drug-induced lupus, is unknown. Hereditary factors, hormonal factors and environmental factors are important although it is not yet clear how they interact to produce lupus. There are no foods or chemicals that make it better or worse, however, doctors and scientists do know some about how lupus affects your body.
Some people experience classic lupus rash, and others may have a life threatening type that effects most of the body. If you have four or more of the following symptoms listed, it is possible that you have lupus or a similar condition.
• Rash across the cheeks and the bridge of the nose (aka "butterfly rash")
• Scaly, disk-shaped rash on the face, neck, ears, scalp and/or chest
• Sensitivity to sunlight, such as severe rashes or becoming ill from sun exposure
• Sores on the tongue, inside the mouth and/or in the nose that are usually painless
• Arthritis (pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints)
• Pain in your chest and side when you breathe, indicating inflammation of the lining of the heart (pericarditis) or lungs (pleurisy)
• Kidney problems, particularly painless protein (albumin) or blood in the urine
• Neurologic (brain) problems, including seizures and mental problems
• Low white or red blood cell count
• Presence of specific autoantibodies measured in the blood
• The presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA), the most commonly seen autoantibody in SLE
People of different races and ages can get lupus. About 90 percent of people with lupus are women. African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics tend to get lupus more often than Caucasians.
At Accurate Clinical Research we are enrolling lupus patients into various clinical programs in search for a new treatment. If you are looking for other options or want to help future generations, today is the perfect day to volunteer. Enroll today for tomorrow’s future.
www.lupus.org          • www.arthritis.com
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