Q:

Is lupus contagious?

A:

Quick Answer

Lupus is a noncontagious autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack and damage its own tissue and organs, the Lupus Foundation of America reports. Lupus interferes with the immune system's ability to distinguish between healthy tissue and harmful foreign matter, such as bacteria and viruses.

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Full Answer

Lupus affects roughly five million people worldwide, especially women of color between the ages of 15 and 44, according to the Lupus Foundation of America. The condition can trigger inflammation anywhere in the body, often occurring in stages of intensified or reduced symptoms, known as flares and remissions.

A person with lupus may develop skin lesions, joint pain or swelling, fatigue, chest pain and headaches, according to Mayo Clinic. The condition sometimes causes a distinct facial rash shaped like a butterfly to develop on the cheeks and nose. Another symptom, known as Raynaud's phenomenon, causes white or bluish coloring on the toes and fingers periodically.

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