If you have lupus, your immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues by mistake.

Lupus can damage your joints, skin, blood vessels and organs. There are many kinds of lupus. The most common type, systemic lupus erythematosus, affects many parts of the body. Discoid lupus causes a rash that doesn't go away. Subacute cutaneous lupus causes sores after being out in the sun. Another type can be caused by medication. Neonatal lupus, which is rare, affects newborns.

Anyone can get lupus, but women are most at risk. Lupus is also more common in African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American women. The cause of lupus is not known.

Lupus has many symptoms. Some common ones are:

  • Joint pain or swelling
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever with no known cause
  • Fatigue
  • Red rashes, often on the face (also called the "butterfly rash")

There is no one test to diagnose lupus, and it may take months or years to make the diagnosis. There is no cure for lupus, but medicines and lifestyle changes can help control it.

Source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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