Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a long-term autoimmune disorder that may affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain and other organs. Although factors such as sunlight, certain drugs and viral infections are known to trigger SLE, the underlying cause is not fully understood.
Because SLE is uncommon – it currently affects approximately 40 to 50 persons per 100,000 in the United States – it can be challenging to treat in clinical practice. However, care for the patient with lupus and other autoimmune diseases has changed dramatically over the past few decades, with five year survival improving from 50% in the 1960s to 95% today. View the images in this slideshow to learn more.