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What is lupus?

July 1, 2018

Ask the doctor

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 Image: © DragonImages/Getty Images

Q. My daughter has just been diagnosed with lupus. What is it, and what can be done to help?

A. A healthy, young patient of mine once asked me what the chances were that she might one day develop a "terrible disease." When I asked her what she meant by "terrible disease," she surprised me: she didn't say a disease that could be fatal, but rather a disease that could attack every part of her body. By that definition, systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus for short) is, indeed, a terrible disease.

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