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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) - also known as lupus - and mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) are autoimmune disorders in which the immune system attacks parts of the body, causing inflammation of and damage to various body parts, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels and brain. SLE appears most often in people between the ages of 10 and 50.


  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Skin rash–A “butterfly” rash over the cheeks and bridge of the nose affects half of those with SLE. The rash may be widespread and worsens with sunlight
  • Seizures
  • Pleurisy (causes chest pain)
  • Psychosis


A diagnosis is based upon the presence of at least four out of 11 typical characteristics of the disease. A chest x-ray, urinalysis and/or a neurological exam may be performed, among a number of other tests.


An individual’s symptoms determine the treatment. For example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can be used to treat arthritis and pleurisy; corticosteroid creams can be used to treat skin rashes.

Lupus is treated by our Division of Pediatric Rheumatology.