Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that it attacks healthy cells and tissues by mistake. This can damage many different parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels and the brain.
There are several types of lupus:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus: This type is the most common one. It can be mild or severe, and it can affect many parts of the body
- Discoid Lupus: Causes a skin rash that does not go away
- Subacute cutaneous lupus: Causes blisters after being in the sun
- Drug-induced lupus: This is caused by certain medications. It usually goes away when people stop taking these medications that are causing a flare
- Neonatal lupus: This is not common and only affects newborns. It is likely to be caused by certain antibodies that mothers have produced during pregnancy
Anyone can have lupus, but women are at a greater risk. Lupus is two to three times more common in African-American women than in white women. It is also more common in Hispanic, Asian and Native American women. African-American and Hispanic women are also more likely to have severe forms of lupus.