Systemic lupus erythematosus

Alternative Names

Disseminated lupus erythematosus; SLE; Lupus; Lupus erythematosus

Definition of Systemic lupus erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disorder. SLE may affect the skin, joints, kidneys, and other organs.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

SLE (lupus) is an autoimmune disease. This means there is a problem with the body’s normal immune system response.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary from person to person, and may come and go. The condition may affect one organ or body system first. Others may become involved later.

Signs and tests

The diagnosis of SLE is based upon the presence of at least 4 out of 11 typical characteristics of the disease. The doctor will listen to your chest with a stethoscope. A sound called a heart friction rub or pleural friction rub may be heard. A neurological exam will also be performed.

Treatment

There is no cure for SLE. Treatment is aimed at controlling symptoms. Your individual symptoms determine your treatment.

Expectations (prognosis)

The outcome for people with SLE has improved in recent years. Many people with SLE have mild illness. Women with SLE who become pregnant are often able to carry safely to term and deliver a normal infant, as long as they do not have severe kidney or heart disease and the SLE is being treated appropriately.

Review

Mark James Borigini, MD, Rheumatologist in the Washington, DC Metro area. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 2/7/2010

Systemic lupus erythematosus
Lupus, discoid  - view of lesions on the chest
Lupus, discoid on a child
Systemic lupus erythematosus rash on the face
Lupus, discoid on the face
Antibodies

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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