Understanding Lupus

May 5, 2015 Brigham and Women's Hospital

Lupus is a multisystem disease that can affect the skin, the joints, the heart, lungs, kidneys, and central nervous system.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body makes antibodies that contribute to inflammation, which results in tissue damage. It’s a multisystem disease that can affect the skin, the joints, the heart, lungs, kidneys, and central nervous system.

Lupus can occur throughout anyone’s lifetime. Though it can impact men, lupus is more common in women. Nine times as many women as men will develop lupus. It’s also more common in women of African American, Asian, or Latino backgrounds. Lupus may start during the teen years, with the peak incidence among women in their twenties and thirties. It’s estimated that there are about 500,000 to one million people affected with lupus in the United States.

Bonnie Lee Bermas, MD, Director of the Lupus Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), describes how BWH rheumatologists collaborate with physicians in other disciplines, such as nephrology, cardiology, neurology, and obstetrics, to provide comprehensive, advanced lupus treatment. She also describes BWH research on the causes of lupus and evaluation of new lupus treatments.

- Jamie R.
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