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Lupus If you have been diagnosed with lupus or know someone who has it is forever a life changing experience What if you have been having body aches and mysterious rashes on your body for a few weeks now Mysterious aches swelling and mysterious rashes are a sure-fire way to know that you might have a disease called lupus What is lupus Technically called systemic lupus erythematosus 1 lupus is an autoimmune disease in other words your immune system attacks your healthy cells Lupuss attack on the immune system causes inflammation and can damage tissues Most often the disease targets the joints and skin but the kidneys bones heart lungs blood vessels and brain are also vulnerable 1 Nobody knows what causes lupus Scientists think a persons genetic makeup sunlight exposure and stress is a key factor Medications such as penicillin and sulfa might set the disease in motion Scientists are not sure why but nine out of ten people who have lupus are women--typically between the ages of 15 and 45--and the illness is also more common in Blacks Asians and Hispanics than it is in whites Roughly one out of every 250 black women and one out of every 750 white women has the disease 1 There is no one test you can buy at a store or go to a doctors office to get since the disease affects everyone differently Their symptoms tend to come and go so they are not sure they have it It can take months or years for a doctor to diagnose lupus Abnormal antibodies in the blood called antinuclear antibodies or ANAs can be a clue that the disease is present but your complete description of your symptoms will be your doctors most helpful diagnostic tool 1 Untreated lupus can do serious damage If it affects the kidneys they can become inflamed and may lose their ability to remove waste products and toxins from the blood kidney
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