An autoimmune condition means the the condition is triggered by problems with the immune system.
Lupus causes the immune system to attack and inflame healthy cells and tissue.
The most well known form of lupus is SLE, systemic lupus erythematosus.
It is a complex disease which can affect people in very different ways. Often, symptoms can be mistaken for those of rheumatoid arthritis, blood disorders, diabetes, thyroid problems, Lyme disease and heart, lung, muscle and bone diseases.
There are three main symptoms of the condition.
Extreme tiredness is the most common symptom of SLE and many people living with the condition find it the most debilitating. It can also trigger headaches.
Fatigue on it’s own is not usually something to worry about unless it is accompanied by other symptoms.
Lupus symptoms could be mistaken for arthritis symptoms.
The condition can cause joint pain in the hands and feet and experts warn the pain is usually worse in the morning.
However, unlike some forms of arthritis – such as rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition – the condition is unlikely to cause permanent damage to the joints.
SLE can trigger skin rashes – most commonly on the face, wrists and hands.
The rashes can be painful or itchy, and although some people find stye get better after a few days or weeks, the effects can be permanent.
Experts say the rashes are often shaped like butterflies and are found across the nose.
Lyme disease can also trigger a rash.
However other common symptoms can include high blood pressure – or hypertension and recurring mouth ulcers.
Some people suffer with swollen lymph glands, small glands found throughout your body, including in your neck, armpits and groin and stomach, or abdominal pain.
This can be caused by a build up of fluids in the abdominal cavity due to the inflammation caused by the condition.
There is no treatment for lupus – but people can take medicine to minimise symptoms.
These including NSAIDs, painkillers, steroids, and drugs which suppress the immune system.
SLE is commonly treated with glucocorticoids administered orally, but many people with the condition have suffered adverse side effects from the medication.
Lupus can be genetic and experts have revealed brother and sister of people with SLE are much more likely to develop the condition.
However, it could be triggered by environmental factors including exposure to sunlight, hormonal changes or even common viral infections.
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