What is lupus?
Lupus is short for a condition called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It’s an autoimmune disease that can take years to diagnose because the symptoms can masquerade as other illnesses.
Lupus isn’t rare—around 1.5 million Americans, mostly women, are affected. But lupus can be misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis or another condition. And symptoms that seem like lupus can sometimes be due to a virus.
The American College of Rheumatology says that if a patient has at least 4 of these 11 signs (though not necessarily all at the same time) they can be diagnosed with lupus.