Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common form of lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease—a disorder in which the body harms its own healthy cells and tissues. This leads to inflammation and damage of body tissues in the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and/or the brain. Lupus is also considered a rheumatic disease because it can cause aches, pain, and stiffness in the joints, muscles, and bones.

Lupus usually first affects people between the ages of 15 and 45 years, but it can also occur in childhood or later in life. Patients experience periods of chronic disease and remission. The prevalence of the disease is not precisely known, ranging from an estimated 15 to 50 cases per 100,000 people.

Signs and Symptoms

Lupus is often accompanied by the following signs and symptoms.

What Causes It?

The cause of lupus is unknown. Researchers believe that there is probably no single cause but rather a combination of genetic, environmental, and possibly hormonal factors that work together.

Who's Most At Risk?

The following categories of people are at higher than average risk for lupus.

What to Expect at Your Provider's Office

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with lupus, you should see your health care provider. A team of specialists usually becomes involved in making a diagnosis and determining which treatment or combination of therapies will work best for you. Because lupus is so complex, reaching a diagnosis may take time and occurs gradually as new symptoms appear.

A diagnosis of lupus is based on a physical examination and the results of laboratory tests, including the following. Imaging techniques may be used to evaluate central nervous system changes or problems and other symptoms associated with lupus.

Treatment Options


While lupus itself cannot be prevented, there are ways to prevent flare-ups. These include the following.

Treatment Plan

There is no known cure for lupus. However, your team of health care professionals can develop a treatment plan to prevent flare-ups, to treat them when they do occur, and to minimize complications.

Drug Therapies

Your health care provider may prescribe the following medications.

Surgical and Other Procedures

Surgery is sometimes performed for lupus-related ailments.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

A comprehensive treatment plan for lupus may include a range of complementary and alternative therapies.

Nutritional tips for patients with lupus include the following. Potentially beneficial nutrient supplements include the following. Herbs
Mix dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), yellowdock (Rumex crispus), echinacea (Echinacea purpurea), and garlic (Allium sativum) equal parts in a tea, 1 cup three times daily. Herbs may be useful for treating lupus, as well as secondary symptoms, such as depression and insomnia.

An experienced homeopath can prescribe a regimen for treating lupus that is designed especially for you. Some of the most common acute remedies are listed below. Acute dose is three to five pellets of 12X to 30C every one to four hours until symptoms are relieved.

Acupuncture may help balance immune response during remissions, and alleviate flare-ups.

Prognosis/Possible Complications

The prognosis for lupus patients is mixed. Half of lupus patients who go into remission remain so for decades, but 90 percent of patients have complications. For women, symptoms tend to decrease after menopause. Ninety percent of patients have a survival rate of 10 years, and 63 to 75 percent have a survival rate of 20 years. Patients with certain complications from lupus tend to have a poor prognosis. The major cause of lupus-related death is infection.

Following Up

Patients need to be closely monitored during flare-ups to determine the appropriate course of treatment and induce remission.


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