Looking Back at the History of Lupus


Lupus can be traced as far back as the author of the Hippocratic Oath. Hippocrates was a Greek philosopher born in 430 BC and amongst his chronicles are details of patients with the classic butterfly facial rash associated with the disease. (Sources: lupus.org.uk and medscape.com)

MORE: Nine important facts about lupus you may not know

Rogerius Frugardi coined the term “lupus” in the 1200s. The word comes from the latin word for “wolf” and there is confusion as to why the animal has come to be linked with the condition. Some think the facial rash looks like a wolf’s bite, whereas others think it bears a resemblance to a wolf’s face.

In the 1800s, Austrian doctors Ferdinand von Hebra and Moritz Kaposi were among the first physicians to recognize that lupus symptoms extended beyond the skin. Later that century, Pierre Cazenave, a French doctor coined the phrase lupus erythematosus, taken from “erythema” the Greek word for “blush.”

In the early 1900s, Canadian physician Sir William Osler wrote that as well as the classic symptoms of fever and rashes, other organs and central nervous system involvement could be part of the disease. Osler recognized that the disease was “systemic” in that it could affect different parts of the body.

Work at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital in the 1940s concluded that lupus was a collagen disease and researchers at the Mayo Clinic in 1949 discovered that cortisone could be used to treat it.

Later work in the 1950s saw researchers identify antibodies responsible for the disease and help progress the diagnostic process.

Today, there is still no cure for lupus but there are effective treatments that can help patients better manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

MORE: These lifestyle hacks will help anyone with a chronic illness

Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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One comment

  1. Vanna Black says:

    What an excellent article. I can totally relate that it is a struggle everyday to look at your physical self and feel that lupus has stolen your outer beauty, but I shout back at it because I refuse to let it take my essence, my heart, my inside beauty that makes me and one day, one man will be so awesomely blessed to share life my beautiful life, lupus and all, with me!

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