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My doctor says lupus is an autoimmune disease. What is an autoimmune disease?

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Updated June 04, 2008

Question: My doctor says lupus is an autoimmune disease. What is an autoimmune disease?
Answer:

Our immune system protects us from disease and infection. On occasion, our immune system may mistake itself for an intruder and attack it by mistake.

Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, can affect connective tissue, which binds together body tissues and organs, or nerves, muscles, the endocrine system and digestive system.

Most autoimmune diseases occur in women, and most often during childbearing years. They are often passed down genetically, so your family history can affect your chances of getting an autoimmune disease.

Source:

Autoimmune Diseases Womenshealth.gov – The Federal Government Source for Women’s Health Information. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. May 2008

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