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What is Lupus?

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Quick Answer

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack and destroy otherwise healthy tissues. The result is a combination of inflammation, pain and damage to various parts of the body. Symptoms of lupus typically last for several weeks to several years before the disease goes into remission for a period of time before starting all over again.

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Because the symptoms of lupus are similar to many other conditions, it can be difficult to diagnose, according to Mayo Clinic. The disease can strike suddenly or appear slowly over time. Some symptoms of lupus include fever, fatigue, a butterfly-shaped rash across the face, skin lesions, shortness of breath and chest pain. The symptoms of lupus can include a wide range that vary from relatively mild to life-threatening, according to the Lupus Foundation of America. Under the care of a doctor and through various treatments, many patients are able to overcome symptoms to live a normal life.

Lupus is most common in women of child-bearing age, from 15 to 44. However, it can strike at any age, and men can also be affected. Lupus affects people of all races, though it is two to three times as likely to affect women of color than Caucasian women, according to the Lupus Foundation of America.

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