The immune system's job is to fight foreign substances in the body, like germs and viruses. But in autoimmune diseases, the immune system is out of control. It attacks healthy tissues, not germs.


You can't catch lupus from another person. It isn't cancer, and it isn't related to AIDS.


Lupus is a disease that can affect many parts of the body. Everyone reacts differently. One person with lupus may have swollen knees and fever. Another person may be tired all the time or have kidney trouble. Someone else may have rashes. Lupus can involve the joints, the skin, the kidneys, the lungs, the heart, the brain, and/or the eyes. If you have lupus, it may affect two or three parts of your body. Usually, one person doesn't have all the possible symptoms.


There are four different types of lupus, and while there is some overlap in symptoms, each affects the body differently.


  • Systemic lupus erythematosus - (SLE) can affect nearly every part of the body, including the skin, joints, lungs, heart, central nervous system, kidneys, eyes and blood.


  • Discoid lupus erythematosus - (also called cutaneous lupus) affects only the skin. Its main symptoms include crusty, scaling sores on the face, on the head, and in other areas of the body.


  • Drug-induced lupus erythematosus - is brought on by certain prescription medications; it usually goes away once the medication is stopped.


  • Neonatal lupus - is rare, but happens when a mother passes lupus antibodies to her unborn baby. The newborn baby may develop a rash and/or other symptoms that can last for several months and then disappear.


While many Americans are living with lupus, it's different for everyone. A person's symptoms can come and go or change over time, making lupus unpredictable and difficult to diagnose. Here are some of the most common symptoms:


  • Extreme fatigue that doesn't go away with rest.


  • Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling in two or more joints


  • Unexplained fever


  • Muscle pain and unusual hair loss


  • Skin sores and rashes (may occur in a butterfly-shaped pattern across the checks and nose)


  • Nose or mouth sores (usually painless)


  • Skin rashes after sun exposure


  • Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress


  • Raynaud’s phenomenon


  • Sensitivity to the sun


  • Mouth Ulcers


  • Swollen glands