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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic disease caused by an overactive autoimmune system. Most cases of lupus are systemic lupus erythematosus. Due to the immune system's abnormal production of antibodies, it attacks the body's joints, skin, and organs, leading to complications and even death. Although this condition can occur in people of all ages and genders, statistics show that the majority of patients are young women between the ages of 20 and 40, with males accounting for only about one-tenth of cases.

According to data from the Hong Kong Hospital Authority, there are currently approximately 8,000 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in Hong Kong. The prevalence rate is estimated to be around 0.15%, which means there are approximately 15 lupus patients per 10,000 people. However, since the statistics from the Hospital Authority do not include patients from private clinics, the medical community believes that the actual number of affected individuals may be much higher than the reported figures. Additionally, the Hospital Authority records approximately 700 new cases each year, indicating an incidence rate of 0.1%. This means that on average, more than one person per 10,000 population develops the disease annually, highlighting the significance of the situation. 


1. Hong Kong Lupus Foundation: Dance with the Wolf - Nursing and Treatment of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Tien Di Publications Limited, 2017. 

2. Department of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong: The Most Dreadful Rheumatic Disease - Lupus. Dr. Lee Kwok-ming. 


Origin of the name lupus erythematosus

"Lupus" comes from Latin, and its original meaning is "wolf". "Erythematosus" describes its symptoms - symmetrical red spots on the bridge of the nose and both sides of the cheeks. These red spots look like being bitten by a wolf, so it is called lupus erythematosus. 

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