Table of Contents

The history of lupus.
Definitions and classification.
Epidemiology of systemic lupus erythematosus.
Clinical symptoms and signs.
Laboratory and imaging abnormalities.
Differential diagnosis and disease associations.
Important subsets and special considerations.
Methods of clinical ascertainment.
General treatment concepts.
Medications used to manage lupus erythematosus.
Economic impact and disability issues.
Experimental and innovative therapies. One million people in the United States suffer from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), a chronic autoimmune disease that is potentially debilitating and sometimes fatal as the immune system attacks the body's cells and tissue, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage. SLE can affect any part of the body, but most often damages the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys and nervous system. The course of the disease is unpredictable, with periods of illness alternating with remission. It can be treated symptomatically, mainly with corticosteroids and immunosuppres.