Lupus: What is it?
• Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease
that can cause damage to any part of the
-Skin, joints, and/or organs inside the
body, and blood cells.
Since this disease is chronic, those who
have Lupus will experience the symptoms
of it for many years even with the use of
Who Does Lupus Effect and How
• Primarily a disease of young women.
• Occurs from infancy to old age, with peak occurrences
between the ages of 15 and 40.
• Females are affected far more than males.
• Blacks (and possibly Hispanics, Asians, and Native
Americans) are affected more than whites.
• Although there is a strong genetic connection, the
disease is relatively uncommon and most cases of Lupus
are very sporadic.
• There are currently 1.5 million people in the U.S who
have some form of Lupus.
What does it do to the Body?
• Lupus is a disorder of the immune system known as an autoimmune
• The immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off
viruses, bacteria, and germs, turns against parts of the body that it
is designed to protect.
• A healthy immune system produces proteins called antibodies and
specific cells called lymphocytes that are there to help fight against
• The most common type of autoantibody that develops in people with
Lupus is called an antinuclear antibody (ANA) because it reacts with
parts of the cell’s nucleus (command center).
What does it do to the Body cont...
• In Lupus, the immune system produces autoantibodies
against the body’s healthy cells and tissues which then
contribute to the inflammation of various parts of the
body and can cause damage to organs and tissues.
• Lupus can affect many parts of the body, including your:
Symptoms of Lupus
• Some of the most common symptoms
of Lupus are:
– Painful or swollen joints and muscle pain
– rashes on the face (often referred to as a butterfly rash)
– Dizziness, Depression, and Confusion
– Unusual loss of hair
– Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress (Raynaud's
– Sensitivity to the sun
– Mouth ulcers
– Swollen glands
– Extreme fatigue.
How serious each case of symptoms are depends on the person and often
• Getting diagnosed with Lupus can be a lengthy process.
It can take anywhere between months to even a few
years before a person gets diagnosed with the disease.
• Doctors will review your entire medical history, your
family's medical history, complete physical examinations,
and perform numerous lab tests such as a complete
blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, urinalysis,
blood chemistries, antinuclear antibody tests, a skin
biopsy, and a kidney biopsy.
Incidence of Lupus
• It has been found that national incidence
data for Lupus are difficult to obtain
because onset of the disease is difficult to
• Existing estimates range widely, from 1.8
to 7.6 cases per 100,000 persons per year
in parts of the continental United States.
Morbidity of Lupus
• Treatment of lupus has improved, and people with the disease are
living longer. But, it is still a chronic disease that can limit activities.
• Quality of life can suffer because of symptoms like fatigue and joint
pain. Furthermore, some people do not respond to some
• Also, you may not be able to predict when lupus will flare. Such
problems can lead to depression, anger, loss of hope or loss of the
will to keep fighting.
• Presently there is no cure for Lupus but the disease can be
effectively treated with drugs allowing most people to still be able to
live healthy and active lives.
Morbidity of Lupus cont...
• Lupus is currently treated with:
-Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
such as Aleve, Advil or Motrin
• According to the CDC, there is no national
health cost estimated at this time for those living
• From 1979 to 1998, the annual number of deaths with lupus as the
underlying cause increased from 879 to 1,406.
• Death rates increased with age, among women, and among blacks.
Death rates were highest and increased the most over time among
black women aged 45-64 years.
• Causes of death are mainly active disease, organ failure (such as
the kidneys) , infection, or cardiovascular disease from accelerated
• With current research, it is showing that at this same time, survival
has been improving, suggesting that more or milder cases are being