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Lupus causes your cells to attack your body

Typically, your immune system works hard on your behalf, protecting you from sickness and disease. Your B cells are a critical part of this process, as they create antibodies. These, in turn, hunt down viruses, germs, bacteria and any other harmful substances that enter the body. They can then destroy and/or control these invaders, keeping you healthy and helping to cure all sorts of ailments in time.

Lupus, however, is an autoimmune disorder. It is a chronic disease, meaning that you don't simply work your way through it like you would with a fever or the flu. It can have a dramatic impact on your life.

If you have lupus, your immune system does not just make normal B-cells. It also makes autoreactive B-cells. These cells, in turn, make autoantibodies. Instead of attacking viruses and bacteria, the autoantibodies turn on healthy cells and attack your body.

The result of this response is that you experience potentially severe inflammation. Your immune system is less effective and actively works against you in a way that it never should.

One issue with lupus is that it's not entirely understood, even though some treatments and medications are available. Most experts agree that it may be caused by hormones, your environment and/or your genetics, but the root cause isn't known at this time. The one bit of good news is that it's not contagious.

If you're suffering from lupus, it can feel very frustrating and inhibiting. It may make it difficult or impossible for you to work. Make sure you know all the options you may have to seek financial assistance, such as Social Security Disability.

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