Lupus is a complex autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans and 5 million people worldwide. Because the disease is chronic, it comes and goes throughout a person’s lifetime with flares and remissions, but it doesn’t do so randomly. Lupus targets people with certain risk factors, making them highly susceptible.
According to the Mayo Clinic – a leading health care center that specializes in the treatment of lupus – the disease occurs when the immune system mistakes healthy tissue for foreign invaders in the body and attacks. This leads to inflammation, extreme fatigue, pain, fever, anemia, hair loss, and damage to other areas of the body.
Lupus ebbs and flows, which means there are periodic bouts of symptoms followed by rest periods. The attacks can also be triggered by exposure to ultraviolet light, smoking, exposure to hair dyes, and hormone fluctuations, which can be caused by pregnancy or birth control pills. High doses of medications, such as seizure, blood pressure, and antibiotic prescriptions, have been shown to induce lupus. However, symptoms usually subside once the individual stops taking the medication.