Originally Answered: What is the Disease 'Lupus'?
I think this will be the skin disease called, "Lupus erythematosis," pronounced LOO'' - pus, Err - i - themm - a - TOE'' - siss. There is no common name for it, I'm sorry. Some people like to use the abbreviation, "L.E."
( There is another rare sort of "Lupus," called "Lupus vulgaris," - - which is another name for tuberculosis of the skin, - - but this is just so exceedingly rare nowadays, that I'm certain this is not the sort your Aunt has.)
L.E. is a disease in which the body's protective "immune system," - the system that protects us all from getting germ infections, - turns funny and attacks the normal body tissues, including the skin, kidneys and heart.
There are 2 sorts, the one that comes on suddenly, called the "acute" kind, - and the other, which comes on much more gradually, is more confined to just the skin, and is less serious. That second sort is called "discoid," pronounced DISS'' - koyd.
Probably your Aunt has the "acute" form, which is also called "acute S.L.E," (acute Systemic L.E, - - because "systemic" is a word which means "general" or "all over the body"), - I'm sorry. But there are lots of good treatments for it, to make it better.
The diagnosis is often made by having a blood test, - - this test can show the abnormal antibodies which the immune system is making. I expect they will want you to have a blood test.
The most well-known feature of this disease, is the red rash which most sufferers get on both their cheeks, and which is joined across their nose, - - this is usually called a "butterfly" rash, from its being shaped like butterflies' wings, - please click here, (click) http://maxcdn.fooyoh.com/files/attach/im...
It is unlikely that you have the same problem. A study in Finland in 2001 showed that S.L.E. ran in the family in only 1 in 20 cases, (5%).
S.L.E. is rare, in 2007 the figures were, - there are about 3 new cases per 100-thousand people per year. And about 33 people per 100-thousand people , actually have it at any given time.
It is much commoner as you get older, and the most new cases are diagnosed at the age of 47. Most new cases in women, are in the age group 65 to 74. The condition is about 6 times commoner in women than in men, - hence it being your Aunt and not your Uncle.
About 9 people out of 10 with new S.L.E., will survive *at least* 5 years, and about 8 people in 10 will survive *at least* 10 years, from their time of first diagnosis. I don't know how old your Aunt is.
I hope this is of some help. Following on the previous Answerer, - I believe that conventional medicine has much more to offer your Aunt, than Naturopathic medicine, - but then as a retired doctor, I suppose I would say that : )
retired uk gp