Lupus is a serious health problem that mainly affects young women. It is most people common in teenagers and young adults, from ages 15 to 44, which are roughly the chidbearing years. People of all races may get lupus. However, Black women are three times more likely to develop lupus than White women.

Lupus is a disease that attacks the immune system, rendering it unable to defend the body against illness, and may affect the joints, the skin, the kidneys, the lungs, the heart, or the brain.

There are different types of lupus, but the most common and the most serious form is systemic lupus erythematosus, which may harm the skin, mouth, kidneys, brain, lungs, and heart.

Signs of lupus include red rash or color changes in the face, painful are swollen joints, unexplained fever, chest pain with breathing, unusual loss of hair, pale or purple fingers or toes, sensitivity to the sun and low blood count.

Other signs of lupus can include mouth sores, unexplained fits or convulsions, hallucinations, or depression, repeated miscarriages, and unexplained kidney problems. Symptoms of the disease are known to come and go. There are times when the disease quiets down or goes into remission and at other times lupus flares up or become active.

Currently there is no cure for lupus. Nor has it been determined what causes it and, specifically, why it is more prevalent in African American women. There is, however, treatment for the disease, which usually consists of a combination of medications, rest, exercise and a healthy, balanced diet.
For information, visit www.womenshealth.gov.