What is lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease (when the body attacks its own healthy cells and tissue) that affects women – and especially women of color – more than any other demographic group. It can affect the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, and nervous system. It is a chronic illness with periods of no symptoms and periods where symptoms flare up. There is no cure for lupus, but treatments are available that can help sufferers live full, active lives. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is the membership organization for rheumatologists (ROOM-uh-TALL-uh-jist), doctors who specialize in treating diseases that affect the joints and muscles, like lupus. The ACR created The Lupus Initiative as a way to increase awareness and education around lupus.
Common signs and symptoms of lupus include:
- Swollen or painful joints
- A rash from being in the sun
- Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress
- More tiredness than usual
- Mouth sores
- A butterfly rash across your nose and cheeks
- A history of kidney disease