article

The meaning of "lupus erythematosus"

Lupus Foundation of America

Resource Content

The word lupus (from the Latin word for wolf) is attributed to the thirteenth century physician Rogerius, who used it to describe erosive facial lesions that were reminiscent of a wolf's bite. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body).

Autoimmune means your immune system cannot tell the difference between the foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues (“auto” means “self”) and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue.

The word erythematosus (from the Greek word erythros, meaning red) refers to the reddish color of the circular shaped facial lesions.