What is lupus?
Lupus is a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disorder that may affect the skin, joints, blood cells, and internal organs, especially the kidneys, heart, and lungs. Two of the more common types of lupus are systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and drug-induced lupus. SLE can affect anyone at any time but is about ten times more common in women than men and is most frequently seen in people who are in their early twenties to mid forties. About 15% - 20% of all SLE cases are diagnosed in children. There is an increased incidence of lupus in persons of African, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American descent. The cause of lupus is not fully understood. It is thought to involve both an inherited component and a trigger that may be related to environmental factors and/or to hormones. Lupus may co-exist with other autoimmune disorders, such as Sjögren syndrome, hemolytic anemia, thyroiditis, and idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP).