What is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)?
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of various tissues throughout the body. SLE occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs, causing inflammation. Because the autoantibodies can affect tissues throughout the body, SLE can affect the skin, heart, lungs, joints, etc.
Clinical symptoms of SLE vary because the disease can affect different systems within the body. Depending on which tissues SLE affects, people with the disease can experience joint pain and swelling, fatigue and exhaustion, fever, skin lesions, headaches, shortness of breath and/or hair loss. Many people with SLE experience periodic “flares” when symptoms become worse for a period of time.