What is Lupus?

Lupus affects at least 1.5 million Americans*

That is a lot of Americans who have been diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or Lupus, but it’s suspected that many more Americans are struggling with its symptoms without really knowing that they have this chronic, inflammatory and sometimes fatal disease.


Lupus is known as an autoimmune disorder because the body begins to wage battle with itself by destroying healthy tissue. There are four different forms of Lupus that show significantly different symptoms. Because it is an autoimmune disorder much like most forms of arthritis, the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF) provides grants to researchers who are specifically seeking cures and remedy for Lupus.

What is lupus?

For many, Lupus will strike once, then remain in remission for months, even years, lying in wait until it strikes again. However, thanks to the efforts of recent and past research, new medications have made medical remission of Lupus possible. We still have research work to do to find new, better treatments and a cure.

Get more lupus information with your free fact sheet!

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Signs and Symptoms of Lupus

The most common form of Lupus, Systemic Lupus can be as mild as an increase in blood pressure in the lungs, or as severe as inflammation of the kidneys, nervous system, or the brain’s blood vessels.

As a result, people with Lupus experience a variety of symptoms that might include:

  • high fevers
  • headaches
  • strokes
  • seizures

In extreme cases, the kidneys can become so damaged that dialysis or kidney transplants are needed.

Onset of Lupus

The onset of Lupus symptoms is somewhat unpredictable. Lupus usually cycles between “flare ups” that might occur daily, weekly or once a year, and normally includes joint swelling, body aches, fever and/or rashes. In fact, when it first strikes, many people write it off to flu or allergic reactions, even when it repeatedly occurs.

Why are we funding Lupus research?

While many people don’t normally associate “lupus” with arthritis research, its characteristics, symptoms and autoimmune patterns are part of the autoimmune diseases in the arthritis family, including Rheumatoid Arthritis and Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s why the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF) has been providing grants to Lupus researchers for more than 40 years.


Betty Tsao, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine at UCLA, whose work was funded by ANRF in the early 1990s, was the first scientist to link a specific human chromosome region to increased risk of developing lupus. This genetic link is the focus of the current research in lupus and may enable early detection and possibly prevention of this often deadly disease.



Read more about the lupus research we’re funding.

How you can help


Because of your charitable donations, more than 60 of the brightest and most promising scientists in the United States are using our ANRF grant funding to seek out causes, treatments, remission solutions and an eventual cure for Lupus.


You can help fund Lupus research by making a tax-deductible donation today.


*Statistics and facts from the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, www.CDC.gov

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