Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys. People currently think that lupus is considered an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means that the body's immune system tries to fight itself, as well as other invaders. "About 500,000 Americans have been diagnosed with lupus; more than 16,000 new cases are reported every year" (Horowitz and Brill 14).
Lupus affects a different variety of people, but is most common in females. Women are nine times more susceptible than men are. Usually lupus occurs in people who are between 20 to 40 years old. While lupus does affect women more, Caucasian females are less likely to develop lupus than Asian, Hispanic, and Native American women. Studies also show that lupus occurs four times more frequently in blacks than in whites.
There is not a certain reason as to how lupus develops, but there are a few studies trying to figure it out. Currently doctors believe that lupus is caused by an irregularity in the body's immune mechanism and/or the breakdown of the body's immune system. What actually happens in lupus is the body's immune system tries to fight off its on protection against sickness. Some experts believe that it does this because of hormones and genetics. Other doctors believe that common viruses, such as the flu, and even stress help to form lupus. Together or separate these factor all seem to contribute to the cause, but scientists have to yet to figure out what role each factor plays. .
There are four different types of lupus: Lupus Erythematosus (LE), Lupus Vulgaris, Neonatal Lupus, and Subacute Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus (SCLE). Lupus Erythematosus as two different areas, which are Discoid LE and Systemic LE. Discoid LE is the skin form, while Systemic LE is the internal form. Lupus Vulgaris is actually tuberculosis of the skin, while Neonatal Lupus is a rare type of lupus that affects newborn infants.