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C. Lupus: The Facts about this Autoimmune Disorder

Narrator: This is Science Today. Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body basically turns against itself. It affects women nine times more than it affects men and is three times more common in women of color than in Caucasians. John Davis, an assistant director of the University of California, San Francisco's Clinical Trials Center says making the diagnosis is often times difficult because the symptoms can be confused with other illnesses.

Davis: As an example - cancer, chronic infections can cause the same type of symptoms that lupus causes. Some medications can even cause a drug-induced type of lupus. So the way to make the diagnosis is to be seen and evaluated by a rheumatologist.

Narrator: Some of the most common telltale signs of lupus are fatigue, skin rashes, photosensitivity and kidney or blood disorders.

Davis: Each patient is an individual with the disease. Not every patient acts the same even though they have the same diagnosis. So even though they all have the same diagnosis, there are different manifestations going on within each patient.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.