Lupus, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus, is a chronic autoimmune illness that causes inflammation and agony throughout the body. Lupus-related inflammation can cause joint pain, skin sensitivity, rashes, and problems with internal organs such as lungs, heart, and kidneys.

The immune system is designed to battle potential threats to the body, such as infections. However, when one has an autoimmune disease like lupus, the immune system attacks healthy tissues in the body. Some people are genetically predisposed to developing lupus, which can be triggered by infections, certain medicines, or even sunshine.

Lupus symptoms might be minimal or non-existent at times. However, instances that severe symptoms may develop which will have a significant influence on one’s everyday life. Many of the symptoms of lupus may come and go in waves, which are referred to as flare-ups. A face rash that mimics butterfly wings unfolding across both cheeks is the most noticeable sign of lupus.

There are several types of lupus, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, which is the most common, cutaneous lupus erythematosus which affects the skin, drug-induced lupus which are caused by specific medications, and neonatal lupus which is a rare type that affects infants at birth. Although there is no cure for lupus, medications can help manage symptoms.


Wide range of symptoms are often associated with lupus. Diagnosing lupus can pose challenges due to its symptoms frequently resembling those of other illnesses. Not everyone with lupus experiences the same symptoms. The lupus signs and symptoms will be determined by which body systems are damaged by the condition.

Signs and symptoms might appear abruptly or gradually, be mild or severe, and be brief or permanent. A flare-up occurs when a symptom becomes abruptly more severe than it was previously.
Symptoms of lupus typically include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • A butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose, as well as rashes on other parts of the body
  • Sunlight sensitivity, or skin lesions that form or intensify due to sun exposure
  • Headache, confusion, and memory loss
  • Hair thinning
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Joint pain, stiffness, and edema
  • White or blue fingers and toes when exposed to cold or during times of stress
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort
  • Dry eyes
  • Kidney, heart, or lungs problems
  • Blood clots
  • Seizures

Should you experience the sudden onset of an unexplained rash, , persistent fever, ongoing fatigue, or continuous body aches, it is advisable to seek medical attention promptly. Getting diagnosed is the first step toward managing lupus and improving the quality of life.


Lupus has no definite cause. However, as an autoimmune disease, lupus is most likely caused by a mix of genetics and environment. It is believed that individuals who have a hereditary tendency for lupus may develop the disease upon exposure to certain environmental triggers.

Researchers are still trying to figure out why people get lupus. Even if the exact cause is unknown, there are some factors that may contribute to the disease, such as:

  • Sunlight: Sun exposure can potentially lead to the emergence of skin lesions associated with lupus or elicit an internal response.
  • Infections: Exposure to certain infections can trigger lupus or induce a relapse.
  • Medications: Individuals who develop drug-induced lupus generally experience improvements upon discontinuing the medication. However, in rare cases, symptoms may persist even after the drug has ceased. Certain categories of blood pressure medications, anti-seizure medications, and antibiotics have the potential to act as triggers for lupus.
  • Hormonal changes: Fluctuations in hormones such as estrogen can potentially trigger lupus.

Risk factors

Lupus can affect anyone. It can occur in adults, children, and even infants. However, certain risk factors may contribute to one’s risk of developing lupus, such as:

  • Family history: Lupus may have a hereditary component. If a family member has lupus, the risk of developing one also increases.
  • Age: It is most diagnosed in people between the ages of 15 and 45.
  • Sex: It is far more common in women than in men, with around 90% of identified cases being women of reproductive age.
  • Race: Lupus is also more common in specific ethnic groups. African American, Hispanic, and Asian American women are all more prone than Caucasian women to have the illness.