Systemic lupus erythematosus, or lupus, is an autoimmune disease. Lupus is a systemic disease, which can affect any part of the body ranging from joints or skin to organs like the brain or heart. In lupus, the immune system erroneously starts to attack an individual's healthy cells as if they were invading infection. Lupus can range from mild to life threatening. Lupus can be difficult to diagnosis as it has signs and symptoms that are similar to other conditions.
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Source: Mayo Clinic, Arthritis Foundation, National Institute of Health: Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center