Dr. Nadheer K M (AIIMS)MBBS

December 10, 2018

March 06, 2020


What is lupus?

An autoimmune disease develops when the healthy cells and tissues of the body are attacked by the individual’s own immune system, causing damage to various organs and bodily systems such as the heart, lungs, skin, joints, kidneys, blood vessels, and brain. Lupus is a type of autoimmune disease which can be of several types such as:

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Discoid lupus
  • Sub-acute cutaneous lupus
  • Drug-induced lupus
  • Neonatal lupus

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Symptoms of lupus, when observable, are termed as a flare and can be of varying intensity from mild to severe. Symptoms tend to have a wave-pattern of presence- there may be months without any symptoms (exacerbation) and then a few weeks or months of symptoms again (remission). Although the signs and symptoms of lupus vary from individual to individual, some of the most common symptoms are:

What are its main causes?

The cause of lupus remains unknown. Autoimmunity is thought to be the main cause of lupus.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Lupus is very difficult to diagnose and it can take an indefinite amount of time for the diagnosis (could be several months or even years) as it's often mistaken for other diseases. Complete medical history will be taken by the physician, followed by a detailed physical examination for subtle signs before establishing the diagnosis. The various tests which help in the diagnosis include:

  • Various blood tests
  • Observing skin sample under a microscope (skin biopsy)
  • Observing tissue sample from the kidney under a microscope (kidney biopsy)

As lupus has no permanent cure, the aim of the treatment is preventing or treating flares, and to reduce further damage to the organs.

Lupus can be treated with medications that help to:

  • Prevent or reduce flares
  • Prevent or reduce damage to the joints
  • Reduce swelling and pain
  • Facilitate the immune system function
  • Achieve hormonal balance

Other problems related to lupus (infection, high cholesterol or high blood pressure) must also be treated to help avoid aggravation of the condition.


  1. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Lupus.
  2. Office on Women's Health. [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Lupus.
  3. Lupus Foundation of America. [Internet]. Washington, D.C.,United States; What is lupus?.
  4. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).
  5. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Lupus.

Medicines for Lupus

Medicines listed below are available for Lupus. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

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