A person's immune
system is responsible for defending the body against bacteria, viruses,
and other disease-causing germs. The cells of the immune system are what normally
prevent us from getting sick. When a person has lupus, though, the good disease-fighting
cells have begun to attack their own body cells instead of the germs. This is
called an autoimmune response (or attack).
Autoimmune responses damage healthy organs like the skin, joints,
blood, kidneys, brain, spinal cord, liver and lungs. Lupus affects people differently;
some people may have damage to many of their organs while others may only have
damage to one or two. Sometimes there is only a little damage, but at other
times it can be very serious, making the person very sick. Because lupus is
such a complex disease, the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of this condition
are sometimes difficult.
This page is maintained by the UTSW rheumatology department.
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This page was last modified 3/17/03
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