Lupus erythematosus (LE) is an autoimmune disease that can affect the skin, joints and internal organs. Due to this condition, the connective tissue of joints, kidneys, mucosa and the walls of blood vessels are chronically inflamed. Lupus erythematosus is a disease that falls under the heading of ‘rheumatic diseases’.


The exact cause of lupus erythematosus is unknown. There are several known factors, however, that may play a role in the development of this disease:


The disease has many different symptoms, because the entire body may be involved. Signs and symptoms of lupus can be:

The condition usually alternates active periods (flare-ups) with less active periods. So in one period, the patient may suffer more from the above-mentioned symptoms than in another period.


The diagnosis of lupus erythematosus should be made based on the signs and symptoms. Because the disease can affect so many organs and tissues, there are many tests that can suggest or exclude the lupus disease. What tests are used, depends on the personal situation and the organs and tissues involved. With the aid of laboratory tests, the diagnosis can be confirmed.


There is no treatment that can cure a patient from lupus erythematosus. However, the symptoms can be reduced with various treatments. Medications that may be prescribed are:


The disease is often chronic and usually gets eventually worse. There are often symptom-free periods that can last for years. Flare-ups are less common after menopause. The prognosis has been considerably improved over the past twenty years, since nowadays lupus is recognized earlier than before. Additionally, improved treatment methods have become available. When the initial inflammation is under control, the long-term prognosis is usually good.


Apart from treatment with medication, it’s very important for lupus patients to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The main advices are: