How Lupus and Other Autoimmune Diseases Affect the Body

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by Wendy Henderson |

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Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means the immune system of people living with the condition doesn’t work as it should. Usually, the immune system is good at spotting foreign invaders — germs, bacteria, and viruses — and killing them off by producing antibodies to fight against them.

MORE: 12 of the most commonly asked questions about lupus. explains that antibodies are proteins in the blood which fight off invaders and then create an immunity to the infection.

In people with lupus and other autoimmune diseases, the immune system is unable to distinguish the difference between foreign invaders and healthy tissue so it creates autoantibodies. These turn on the body and begin to attack healthy tissue instead of attacking unwanted germs and bacteria.

These attacks can occur anywhere in the body causing inflammation, meaning people living with lupus can suffer from a myriad of symptoms. When the autoantibodies attack, the person is experiencing a flare; when the autoantibodies are not attacking then the person is considered in remission. Lupus sufferers will go through phases of intermittent flares and remissions.

MORE: What does a lupus flare feel like?

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.