Systemic Lupus erythematosus (SLE or `lupus`) is a chronic immune-system illness, a condition in which the body’s defence mechanism begins to attack itself through an excess of antibodies in the blood stream causing inflammation and damage in the joints, muscles and other organs.
- Cutaneous lupus (of which discoid Lupus is a recognised type) is usually a condition of the skin alone, but in a very few patients might develop Systemic Lupus.
- Studies have shown that approximately 1 in 1,000 people have lupus in the UK. 90% of cases are female, mainly developing the condition between the ages of 15 and 55.
- Lupus also disproportionately impacts people from black African, Caribbean and Asian ethnic groups, affecting approximately three to four times as many compared to Caucasians.
- The current average time for diagnosis from the onset of first symptoms is 6.4 years.