Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic disease of the immune system. The immune system is the body’s defense system. For example, the immune system protects us from getting sick from infections. With SLE, the immune system mistakes the body’s normal cells as foreign and attacks them. This causes tissue damage and inflammation which is widespread throughout the body. The inflammation can affect almost any organ.

Commonly affected organs include the joints, skin, brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels. As a result, people with SLE may develop symptoms in different parts of the body. The disease affects everyone differently. Most people have a variety of symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include joint pain and swelling, fatigue, and skin rashes. Symptoms may come and go. Periods of severe symptoms are called “flares.” Some people may have periods with little to no symptoms.

If you think you may have SLE, talk to your doctor about what you are feeling.

SLE can affect any organ in your body!