The answer to ‘what is lupus’ is a multi-fold response. In some cases the response may be that lupus is an inflammatory autoimmune disease. In autoimmune diseases the immune system of the body no longer performs its beneficial role properly. Instead of only protecting the body from infection the immune system begins to attack the body itself.
In lupus the immune system may attack any number of different parts in the body. The result is damage to otherwise healthy body parts. This results in reduced performance of those parts, illness in the individual and immediate discomfort in some cases. In addition inflammation is caused. This is commonly thought of regarding arthritis (which can be associated with lupus), but it can occur outside of the joints as well. With continued attack by the immune system nearly any part of the body may experience inflammation.
So, what is lupus? The answer is that we are still not completely certain. While it is known what occurs in the disease it is not certain what causes the disease. Doctors have some theories regarding specific cases though. For example in neonatal lupus it is suspected that autoantibodies in the mother’s blood may be part of the cause. In some cases the disease may run in families as well. The increase of risk is still quite low even in children and siblings of those that have lupus.
‘What is lupus’ is a question that scientists are beginning to work on with greater effort though. The NIH has begun completing work that promises to improve life for those that have the disease. A large amount of improvement still needs to be done though. In some cases conclusive diagnosis can still take months. Unfortunately there is still no cure for lupus either.
There are a number of things that your doctor can do to diagnose you condition though. In some cases with some amount of lifestyle change and medication there is the potential for a fulfilling life. The future seems to hold better answers than we have had in the past regarding lupus. Your doctor can help you to have the best possible now.