The autoimmune disease known as lupus is most commonly found in women of childbearing age (15-35), but has the potential to affect anyone. It’s also known as “the great imitator”, as the symptoms that people experience can mimic many other diseases and conditions.
The most common form of lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is often more easy to diagnose than other forms of the disease - it produces a very distinct “butterfly” rash over the cheeks and nose in over 90% of cases. Though many people with lupus live regular and long lives these days, it wasn’t always that way. The effects of the autoimmune attacks on the heart, liver, and kidneys tended to kill patients within 10 years after diagnosis, and within a much shorter time span in those who had severe manifestations of the condition.
A Treatise on the Diseases of the Skin. Henry W. Stelwagon and Henry Kennedy Gaskill, 1923.