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Lupus Blog & Current Events

What is Lupus?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

house lupus.jpg

If you ever watched the show House, you know "it's never lupus". Except when it is! Did you know it takes an average of 6 years to be diagnosed with lupus? And 63% of lupus patients report being improperly diagnosed? No wonder it was a challenge for Dr. House in season 4!

The lengthy time to a lupus diagnosis is in part due to the complex nature of the disease and the fact that not all lupus patients have the same symptoms. Lupus is actually a spectrum of diseases that affects many different organs, including the skin, joints, and internal organs. The disease was named by Dr. Rogerius in the 13th century after the Latin word for "wolf" because he thought the skin lesions looked like a bite or scratch from the animal. There are different clinical categories of lupus, including Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), so named because it causes erythema or redness and it affects multiple organs in the body. Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus (CLE) affects the skin, and can have a variety of appearances which are clinically different for diagnosis and prognosis. The underlying cause or trigger likely varies between patients, but ultimately results in the same problem: an immune response to self tissue. 

Our research team is tackling ways to better understand the immune response in lupus, which will help us identify new markers to aid in diagnosis. Dr. House would be proud! Though probably not enthusiastic...

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