Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus,(also known as Lupus or SLE) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmue disorder characterized by periodic episodes of inflammation of and damage to the joints, tendons, and organs, including the heart, lungs, blood vessels, brain, kidneys, and skin.

In an autoimmune disorder like SLE, a person's antibodies begin to recognize the body's own tissues as foreign. Cells and chemicals of the immune system damage the tissues of the body. The reaction that occurs in tissue is called inflammation. Inflammation includes swelling, redness, increased blood flow, and tissue destruction.

SLE can occur in both males and females of all ages, but 90% of patients are women in their childbearing years. Lupus affects each individual differently and the effects of the illness range from mild to severe. Patients may have periods with mild or no symptoms, followed by a flare. During a flare, symptoms increase in severity and new organ systems may become affected. Almost all people with SLE have joint pain and most develop arthritis. Frequently affected joints are the fingers, hands, wrists, and knees. Lupus can potentially be fatal.

Current treatment of SLE is aimed at limiting the progression of the disease while lessening the severity of episodes.

Symptoms of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • General Malaise
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting
  • Joint pain and problems, including arthritis
  • Cough and chest pain (Pleurisy)
  • Enlarged glands
  • Skin rash – a red butterfly‐shaped skin rash appears across the cheeks and nose, and rashes
  • elsewhere on the body
  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight
  • Hair Loss (alopecia)


For general information or to schedule an appointment, call 212.305.4308. You may need a doctor's referral; please consult with your insurance provider prior to your appointment to ensure your visit will be covered under your policy.

Your appointment

  • To prepare for your appointment, make a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take. Include the dosage and frequency with which you take them. Please bring the list with you to your appointment.
  • First-time office consultations typically require an hour long appointment.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment for registration.
  • It is not necessary to fast for your first visit, unless you are instructed to do so by the doctor.
  • If you are not a current Columbia/NYP patient, please bring your outside medical records with you or ask your doctor to fax them to us at 212.342.6835.
  • A brief medication information form will need to be completed at each visit.
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