So few have heard of it, yet worldwide it's seen as more common than leukaemia, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.

Over 30,000 people have the disease in the UK of whom 90% are female. Men and young children can also be affected by lupus. The ratio of women to men(who are affected) being 9:1.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, a type of self-allergy, whereby the patient's immune system creates antibodies which instead of protecting the body from bacteria and viruses attack the person's own body tissues. This causes symptoms of extreme fatigue, joint pain, muscle aches, anaemia, general malaise, and can result in the destruction of vital organs. It is a disease with many manifestations, and each person's profile or list of symptoms is different. Lupus can mimic other diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, making it difficult to diagnose.

Currently there is no single test that can definitely say whether a person has lupus or not. Only by comprehensive examination and consideration of symptoms and their history can a diagnosis be achieved.

Lupus is neither infectious or contagious.

Lupus can be triggered:
at puberty during the menopause
after childbirth after viral infection
through sunlight as a result of trauma
after a prolonged course of medication

The symptoms - these may include:
extreme fatigue joint/muscle pain
eye problems depression
mouth ulcers facial or other rashes
miscarriage hair loss
anaemia fever
possible involvement of the kidneys, heart, lungs and brain


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