Lupus is a disease of the immune system. Normally, the immune system fights off infections. When the immune system is not working normally, it can start to attack itself. This happens because of part of the immune system called auto-antibodies ("auto" meaning self) targets the body’s own organs. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and other symptoms of lupus. Diseases like lupus that make autoantibodies are called autoimmune diseases.
Lupus is a chronic disease which means that it doesn’t go away, but it can be treated. People with lupus should regularly see a rheumatologist. Lupus can affect many parts of the body, such as the joints, skin, kidneys, brain, and heart. Because it has so many different symptoms, lupus is sometimes difficult to diagnose. The most important point to remember is that lupus is manageable and people with lupus can lead active and healthy lives.