Systemic lupus erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in connective tissues, such as cartilage and the lining of blood vessels, which provide strength and flexibility to structures throughout the body. The signs and symptoms of SLE vary among affected individuals, and can involve many organs and systems, including the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, central nervous system, and blood-forming (hematopoietic) system. SLE is one of a large group of conditions called autoimmune disorders that occur when the immune system attacks the body's own tissues and organs.SLE may first appear as extreme tiredness (fatigue), a vague feeling of discomfort or illness (malaise), fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Most affected individuals also have joint pain, typically affecting the same joints on both sides of the body, and muscle pain and weakness. Skin problems are common in SLE. A characteristic feature is a flat red rash across the cheeks and bridge of the nose, called a "butterfly rash" because of its shape. The rash, which generally does not hurt or itch, often appears or becomes more pronounced when exposed to sunlight. Other skin problems that may occur in SLE include calcium deposits under the skin (calcinosis), damaged blood vessels (vasculitis) in the skin, and tiny red spots called petechiae. Petechiae are caused by a shortage of cell fragments involved in clotting (platelets), which leads to bleeding under the skin. Affected individuals may also have hair loss (alopecia) and open sores (ulcerations) in the moist lining (mucosae) of the mouth, nose, or, less commonly, the genitals.About a third of people with SLE develop kidney disease (nephritis). Heart problems may also occur in SLE, including inflammation of the sac-like membrane around the heart (pericarditis) and abnormalities of the heart valves, which control blood flow in the heart. Heart disease caused by fatty buildup in the blood vessels (atherosclerosis), which is very common in the general population, is even more common in people with SLE. The inflammation characteristic of SLE can also damage the nervous system, and may result in abnormal sensation and weakness in the limbs (peripheral neuropathy); seizures; stroke; and difficulty processing, learning, and remembering information (cognitive impairment). Anxiety and depression are also common in SLE.People with SLE have episodes in which the condition gets worse (exacerbations) and other times when it gets better (remissions). Overall, SLE gradually gets worse over time, and damage to the major organs of the body can be life-threatening.

Different Conditions


Non-organ specific systemic autoimmune disorders

An autoimmune non-organ specific inflammatory disease characterized by the presence of antibodies to DNA, RNA and other components of the nucleus. It has a very variable clinical presentation and course ranging from an acute fulminant life-threatening disorder with involvement of heart, central nervous system and kidneys to an indolent chronic scarring skin disorder.

Signs And Symptoms

  • Inflammation (qualifier value)
  • Inflammation (morphologic abnormality)
  • Where It Occurs

    Skin System (Integumentary System)

    Organ Affected

    Connective tissue structure (body structure)|Connective tissue (substance)

    Also Known As

  • LE - [lupus erythematosus]
  • Related ICD 10 COde
    ICD 10 Code M32


    Noninfectious erosive or ulcerative disorders of oral mucosa

    Lupus erythematosus affecting oral mucosa. This may be associated with either cutaneous or systemic lupus erythematosus and presents most commonly as mucosal ulceration. Histologically there is a lichenoid mucositis.
    Related ICD 10 COde
    ICD 10 Code M32

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