Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with, and a challenge to treat.
Developed by the Lupus Foundation of America, the National Resource Center on Lupus is a one-stop resource for all things lupus from treatment to living to relationships. The Resource Center aims to empower, educate and connect through trustworthy, reliable and high-quality resources that provide emotional support and clear, accurate health information. The Resource Center provides information and support for anyone affected by lupus, including people diagnosed with lupus, children and teens, caregivers, health care professionals and the public.
The Lupus Foundation of America encourages reporters to contact us for resources and information related to lupus research, epidemiology, symptoms and diagnosis, care and treatment, current policy and relevant legislation, and perspectives of people impacted by lupus, as well as researchers.
Please cite the Lupus Foundation of America as the source for media stories. Please feel free to share our national toll-free information request telephone numbers, 1.800.558.0121, (en Español 1.800.682.7990) and our websites, resources.lupus.org and lupus.orgas a resource in stories.
What is lupus?
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years. It is an unpredictable and misunderstood disease that is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with, and a challenge to treat.
Lupus can range from mild to life-threatening and should always be treated by a doctor. With good medical care, most people with lupus can lead a full life.
Because lupus can affect so many different organs, a wide range of symptoms can occur. These symptoms may come and go, and different symptoms may appear at different times during the course of the disease.
The most common symptoms of lupus, which are the same for females and males, are:
- Extreme fatigue (tiredness)
- Painful or swollen joints
- Anemia (low numbers of red blood cells or hemoglobin, or low total blood volume)
- Swelling (edema) in feet, legs, hands, and/or around eyes
- Pain in chest on deep breathing (pleurisy)
- Butterfly-shaped rash across cheeks and nose
- Sun- or light-sensitivity (photosensitivity)
- Hair loss
- Abnormal blood clotting
- Fingers turning white and/or blue when cold (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
- Mouth or nose ulcers
Many of these symptoms occur in other illnesses. In fact, lupus is sometimes called "the great imitator" because its symptoms are often like the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, blood disorders, fibromyalgia, diabetes, thyroid problems, Lyme disease, and a number of heart, lung, muscle, and bone diseases.
Mike Donnelly, Director of Communications