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Lupus: Not Just Skin Deep

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system (which normally protects the body from infections) mistakenly attacks healthy cells. This can cause inflammation, swelling, pain, and damage.

There are different kinds of lupus. The most common type is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). SLE can affect parts of the body including skin, joints and/or organs. Symptoms vary, and early symptoms can include fatigue, joint pain, fever, and a lupus rash, especially after being in the sun.

If you are living with lupus, take our survey to be considered for an upcoming clinical trial.

We also invite you to join our online lupus community.

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Thank you for your time in sharing your experience with us. You will be invited at the end of the survey to sign up to be considered for upcoming clinical trials for people with lupus.


How is lupus diagnosed?

There is no single test for lupus. Because lupus affects different people in different ways, it can be difficult to diagnose. Instead, doctors use a combination of person’s medical history of symptoms, physical exam findings, laboratory tests, and skin biopsies to make a diagnosis. Lupus is not contagious, but it does have a hereditary component, so family health information is important. Because the symptoms of lupus come and go over time, diagnosing lupus can be a slow and frustrating process.

Causes & symptoms

What causes lupus?

No one knows what causes lupus. Scientists think that some people are born with the genes to develop lupus. It is also believed that sunlight, some prescription medications, infections or viruses, hormones, cigarette smoking, and stress can also cause lupus or worsening symptoms of lupus (flare ups).

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms and severity of lupus vary greatly from one person to the next. Many people experience tiredness, weight loss and a mildly raised temperature (fever). Other common symptoms of lupus include:

  • joint and muscle pain
  • skin rash, poor circulation and hair loss (alopecia)
  • low blood cell or iron levels, and swollen glands
  • chest pain
  • swollen kidneys
  • depression and anxiety


How is Lupus treated?

Lifestyle changes can help to control how often and how severely a person may have rashes and other symptoms caused by sensitivity to light. Avoiding sunlight and wearing sunscreen are effective ways to help control these types of symptoms. Managing stress, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding nicotine may also reduce the risk of some symptoms.

Medications used to treat lupus include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen are commonly used to treat multiple symptoms of lupus
  • Corticosteroids, both topical creams to treat skin rashes, and pills to treat inflammation and other symptoms
  • Antimalarial drugs are used to treat fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes and inflammation
  • Immunosuppressant medications are used to treat the overactive immune system

In addition, clinical trials are investigating potential new treatments before they are approved for use.

Clinical trials – Learn more

Clinical trials are advancing our understanding of lupus and investigating potential new treatment options. They depend on people like you to volunteer to take part. Potential benefits of participating in a clinical trial include:

  • Close care and monitoring by a study doctor and staff throughout the study
  • No cost for study treatment, related tests and procedures
  • Contribute to our understanding of lupus and its treatment

If you would like to receive updates about upcoming clinical trials in lupus, you will be invited to sign up at the end of our survey.

Lupus clinical research trials are important in the development of medicines for lupus. In the survey, you will have the opportunity to sign up to be notified about available and/or upcoming lupus clinical trials. You do not need to join the database to participate in this survey.

If you would like to be considered for an upcoming clinical trial, please take our survey.

We also invite you to join our online community for people living with lupus.

Connect With Us

Thank you for your time and support in sharing your opinions with us.



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