Name: Lupus, SLE

Description: SLE = Systemic Lupus Erythematosis

Creator: Dr21205

This casebook is published and has been read 1736 times.

The author of this casebook has identified the following medical topics as being highly relevant to this casebook.

  • Lupus Erythematosus, Discoid -- A chronic form of cutaneous lupus erythematosus (LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS, CUTANEOUS) in which the skin lesions mimic those of the systemic form but in which systemic signs are rare. It is characterized by the presence of discoid skin plaques showing varying degrees of edema, erythema, scaliness, follicular plugging, and skin atrophy. Lesions are surrounded by an elevated erythematous border. The condition typically involves the face and scalp, but widespread dissemination may occur.
  • Lupus Erythematosus -- A chronic inflammatory connective tissue disease marked by skin rashes, joint pain and swelling, inflammation of the kidneys, inflammation of the fibrous tissue surrounding the heart (i.e., the pericardium), as well as other problems. Not all affected individuals display all of these problems. Also called systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus -- A form of lupus erythematosus in which the skin may be the only organ involved or in which skin involvement precedes the spread into other body systems. It has been classified into three forms - acute (= LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS, SYSTEMIC with skin lesions), subacute, and chronic (= LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS, DISCOID).
  • LUPUS NEPHRITIS -- Glomerulonephritis associated with autoimmune disease SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS. Lupus nephritis is histologically classified into 6 classes: class I - normal glomeruli, class II - pure mesangial alterations, class III - focal segmental glomerulonephritis, class IV - diffuse glomerulonephritis, class V - diffuse membranous glomerulonephritis, and class VI - advanced sclerosing glomerulonephritis (The World Health Organization classification 1982).
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic -- A chronic, relapsing, inflammatory, and often febrile multisystemic disorder of connective tissue, characterized principally by involvement of the skin, joints, kidneys, and serosal membranes. It is of unknown etiology, but is thought to represent a failure of the regulatory mechanisms of the autoimmune system. The disease is marked by a wide range of system dysfunctions, an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and the formation of LE cells in the blood or bone marrow.


Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys, and brain. Normally the body's immune system makes proteins called antibodies, to protect the body against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign materials. These foreign materials are called antigens.

In an autoimmune disorder like lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then makes antibodies directed against itself. These antibodies—called "auto-antibodies" (auto means 'self')—cause inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body.


The symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) vary widely and it often mimics or is mistaken for other illnesses because the symptoms come and go unpredictably. Diagnosis can be elusive, with patients sometimes suffering unexplained symptoms and untreated SLE for years. Common initial and chronic complaints are fever, malaise, joint pains, fatigue, and temporary loss of cognitive abilities.


Diagnosing lupus is difficult because signs and symptoms vary considerably from person to person. Signs and symptoms of lupus may change over time and overlap with those of many other disorders. For these reasons, doctors may not initially consider lupus until the signs and symptoms become more obvious. Even then, lupus can be challenging to diagnose because nearly all people with lupus experience fluctuations in disease activity. At times the disease may become severe and at other times subside completely.


Treatment for lupus depends on the symptoms. Determining treatment options requires a careful discussion of the benefits and risks with your doctor. As your signs and symptoms flare and subside, you and your doctor may find that you'll need to change medications or dosages.

Clinical Studies

Clinical studies in patients with lupus are complicated by: (i) the wide range of disease manifestations; (ii) the relapsing-remitting nature of the disease, which results in high rates of response in groups given a placebo; and (iii) the lack of standardized criteria for remission.


Bookmarks The following information, which has been distilled by the casebook author from this and other websites is particularly relevant to this casebook.
Bookmarks - Web
Web Page Notes Concepts
 Search of: lupus - List Results - List of clinical trials of new treatments for lupus. Many of these are currently recruiting patients. (Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic)
 MedlinePlus - Search Results for: lupus U.S. National Library of Medicine. Many links including an interactive tutorial from the Patient Education Institute. (Lupus Erythematosus, Discoid)
 Could I Have Lupus Could you have lupus? U.S. Government consumer health information in English and Spanish (Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic)
 Systemic lupus erythematosus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This is a very good article written at a professional level but still somewhat accessible to average consumers. Good pictures. (Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic)

This web-site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your doctor. It should not to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment.