Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that leads to a hyperactive immune system that begins to create antibodies that attack healthy, normal tissues and organs as well as the skin, joints, and blood. Lupus includes periods of illness, also known as flares, and periods of wellness, known as remission. The severity of the disease varies; some people experience more mild side effects while others may suffer life-threatening problems. Additionally, as the disease mimics other conditions and can come and go, the disease can be very difficult to diagnose; nevertheless, doctors and scientists have estimated that approximately 16,000 Americans develop the condition each year.
Three primary kinds of lupus exist:
1. Discoid: Discoid lupus tends to affect the skin primarily and is characterized by a rash that appears on the face, neck, and scalp.
2. Systemic: Systemic lupus is a more severe form that can affect nearly every organ or system in the body. Symptoms for this version vary greatly from person to person.
3. Drug-induced: Drug-induced lupus occurs for a small percentage of individuals who take certain medications.
Doctors currently have no cure for lupus, though therapies and medications make death from lupus very unlikely.
About the author: James Cortopassi is a national leader in Litigation Support and eDiscovery Services at LITEGATION, LLC (www.litegation.com). James Cortopassi is also committed to helping find a cure for lupus and supports organizations that work toward that end.