Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (S.L.E) is a rare and complex disease, yet despite its rarity it is an important condition to detect as it can cause a large number of problems. The cause is an over-activity of the immune system leading to the body attacking itself, leading to potential damage of any organ or system. As such symptoms can be wide ranging, the most common of which are rashes, joint pain and swelling, fever and tiredness. It most commonly affects women between the age of 15 and 40. It is usually known simply as ‘lupus’ due to its characteristic facial rash which has been noted by historians resemble the bite of a wolf.
Lupus is usually diagnosed through the presence of symptoms, an examination of the skin and joints and a series of blood tests looking for the presence of a specific antibody in the blood stream. If your doctor suspects you have lupus you will be referred on to a rheumatologist who will confirm the diagnosis and start you on some treatment.
Treatment options for lupus have developed greatly over the past decades and there are now many medical therapies available. These could include anti-inflammatories, steroids, anti-malarial drugs and other immuno-suppressants which stop the immune system attacking your body. The disease is incurable but with correct medical treatment can usually be controlled and you can live a normal life.