Systemic lupus is a chronic and presently-incurable illness of the immune system, 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.
The name systemic lupus implies that almost any organ or system within the body might be affected and lupus is perhaps the classical multi-symptom illness, deserving of far greater priority and investigation by the medical community.
Discoid lupus is a condition of the skin alone, and in a very few patients can develop into systemic lupus.
Lupus may be triggered by various means and can present in a bewildering number of ways, even to the extent of mimicking other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis.
The causes of lupus is not positively known though research has provided evidence implicating heredity, hormones and infections including viruses.
Some 50,000 may have lupus in the UK and 90% of sufferers are female, mainly between the ages of 15 and 55.
With its many symptoms, lupus can often be overlooked by a GP or consultant which may delay final diagnosis and a vital start to necessary treatment which can contain the disease and hopefully limit potential damage to the kidneys, heart, lungs or brain. Those diagnosed usually remain in medical care and receive ongoing treatment. Many symptoms will have less impact but there may be side effects.
Lupus can adversely affect the lives of sufferers and their families, and influence relationships with friends and business colleagues.
Lupus UK is a charity devoted to helping people living with this incurable immune system disease.
Excel for Charity is now running a poetry competition judged by Jim Bennett (Managing Editor of The Poetry Kit), to raise money for this charity.
Enter the competition, raise money for the charity and win some money for yourself. The top prize is £150.
For competition details, to enter online or download the Entry Form visit