Lupus is a disease of the autoimmune system. For reasons unknown, the immune system is driven into an overactive state in which the body mistakes healthy cells for foreign cells, thus destroying them. Lupus causes destruction to any number of organs in the body, as well as affects the joints, and a rash may be present as well.
At this current time, there are two known types of lupus that affect adults in particular. There is a form called discoid lupus and there is a much more severe form of the disease known as systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE. Discoid lupus is limited to the skin. This form is portrayed by a rash affecting the scalp, the face, and neck area.
SLE is a much more serious form of lupus that attacks the internal organs and joints. It is characterized by flareups of symptoms and will then go into a remission. All cases of lupus are completely different, so it is difficult to diagnose. The length of time the symptoms or remissions will last is undetermined. A symptom that is an indicator that one may have lupus is a malar rash or butterfly rash across the cheeks and nose.
Due to the fact that autoimmune diseases often result in other autoimmune type of diseases, the symptoms are numerous. This explains why the symptoms of lupus often change over time as well as it starts to mimic other illnesses. The principal cause of death due to lupus is when the kidneys become too damaged and cease to function.
Unfortunately, there is no specific test in order to diagnose lupus. There is only a guideline of eleven symptoms that exists and this is only suggestive of the disease. An individual must show at least four of the symptoms over the course of their illness in order for a diagnosis of lupus to be made. Treatment is different for each case depending on the organs involved and the seriousness of the illness. At this time, the most that can be done for lupus is symptom control as there still is no cure for this disease.