SIGNS OF LUPUS
WHAT IS A FLARE?
SCIENCE MEANS PROGRESS
TYPES OF LUPUS
lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the form of the disease that most
people are referring to when they say "lupus." The word
"systemic" means the disease can affect many parts of the
body. The symptoms of SLE may be mild or serious. Although SLE
usually first affects people between the ages of 15 and 45 years, it
can occur in childhood or later in life as well. This booklet
focuses on SLE.
lupus erythematosus is a chronic skin disorder in which a red,
raised rash appears on the face, scalp, or elsewhere. The raised
areas may become thick and scaly and may cause scarring. The rash
may last for days or years and may recur. A small percentage of
people with discoid lupus have or develop SLE later.
cutaneous lupus erythematosus refers to skin lesions that appear on
parts of the body exposed to sun. The lesions do not cause scarring.
lupus is a form of lupus caused by medications. Many different drugs
can cause drug-induced lupus. Symptoms are similar to those of SLE
(arthritis, rash, fever, and chest pain) and they typically go away
completely when the drug is stopped. The kidneys and brain are
lupus is a rare disease that can occur in newborn babies of women
with SLE, Sjögren's syndrome, or no disease at all. Scientists
suspect that neonatal lupus is caused by autoantibodies in the
mother's blood called anti-Ro (SSA) and anti-La (SSB).
Autoantibodies ("auto" means self) are blood proteins that
act against the body's own parts. At birth, the babies have a skin
rash, liver problems, and low blood counts. These symptoms gradually
go away over several months. In rare instances, babies with neonatal
lupus may have a serious heart problem that slows down the natural
rhythm of the heart. Neonatal lupus is rare, and most infants of
mothers with SLE are entirely healthy. All women who are pregnant
and known to have anti-Ro (SSA) or anti-La (SSB) antibodies should
be monitored by echocardiograms (a test that monitors the heart and
surrounding blood vessels) during the 16th and 30th weeks of
It is important for women with SLE or other related autoimmune
disorders to be under a doctor's care during pregnancy. Physicians
can now identify mothers at highest risk for complications, allowing
for prompt treatment of the infant at or before birth. SLE can also
flare during pregnancy, and prompt treatment can keep the mother