Lupus Can Mimic Other Diseases and Can Be Difficult to Diagnose
Systemic lupus erythematosus, also called SLE or lupus, is a type of autoimmune disease. The causes of autoimmune diseases are not well understood, but multiple mechanisms are involved. There is usually a genetic predisposition and some lupus trigger, such as an infection or exposure to an environmental contaminant, such as silica or cigarette smoke. For whatever reason, the body starts producing antibodies against itself; the immune system attacks this component, in the process causing destruction of anything nearby.
Women of childbearing age are most commonly affected but it can affect anyone at any age, and symptoms vary in different individuals. It may be mild or severe; symptoms of lupus are frequently intermittent, with exacerbations of disease interspersed amongst periods of relative remission.
Due to the varying symptoms, lupus can mimic other diseases and can be difficult to diagnose. If you experience multiple symptoms common to lupus, see your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment is important to achieve the best outcome.
In order of decreasing occurrence, symptoms of lupus may include:
Most people with lupus feel tired for a large part of the time. Along with fatigue comes feeling generally unwell, fever, poor appetite and weight loss.