Facts about lupus
What is lupus?
The most common and serious form of lupus is Systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE. SLE is a treatable, chronic, autoimmune inflammatory disease that can affect any organ in the body and in a pattern that varies greatly from person to person.
SLE is a chronic illness, which means that the disease is lifelong, however most people with SLE will not be continously sick for the rest of their lives.
Autoimmune means that there is a disorder of the immune system which cannot tell the difference between a person's own tissues and foreign tissues. This conflict leads to inflammation in various organs which causes the symptoms of lupus to appear. If severe or untreated, this inflammation may cause organ damage and loss of function.
Who gets lupus?
Women of child-bearing age (15-45) are most often affected. In that particular age group, lupus is 8-13 times more common in women than in men. While women in this age category are the most commonly-affected individuals, the disease does affect men, children and the elderly as well.
Is lupus contagious?
Lupus is not contagious. It is not an infection, meaning that it cannot be passed from person to person like a cold. It is not a form of cancer. There is absolutely no relationship between lupus and AIDS.
Is lupus hereditary?
Heredity may influence if a person develops lupus. It is not unusual for a lupus patient to have in his or her family a relative with an autoimmune disease (including lupus). SLE studies have shown that between 0.4 to 5% of the relatives of lupus patients may also develop lupus.
Is there a cure for lupus?
At this point, there is no cure for lupus. Researchers studying the disease have made tremendous advancements in our knowledge of SLE and this research is continuing. Patients are fully justified in their hopes that a cure will be found.
For more information, please visit the Lupus Canada website.