Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects more than half a million people in the United States. SLE causes a person’s immune system to attack and reject their own tissue and organs, affecting their joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.

Due to there not being many specific symptoms, lupus is often difficult to diagnose. One distinctive symptom that occurs in many cases is a facial rash in the shape of butterfly wings, flushing a person’s cheeks.

There is currently no cure for lupus but there are several treatments that control the disease. Cases vary from being mild to severe, temporary or permanent. The majority of those with lupus experience symptoms in flares, experiencing many symptoms followed by no symptoms for a period of time.

Symptoms associated with lupus are fatigue, fever, joint pain, skin lesions, shortness of breath, chest pain, dry eyes, and headaches, among more.

While lupus usually develops due to genetics and a person’s environment, some triggers are excessive exposure to sunlight and medications. Lupus can affect anyone but women between the ages of 15 and 40 are at higher risk.