Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own organs and tissues. It can affect many different systems within the body, such as the joints, skin, blood cells, kidneys, brain, heart and lungs. Lupus is a chronic disease that has times of exacerbation and times of dormancy. When diagnosed early, treatment can help decrease some of the symptoms associated with this chronic illness. Doctors are still unsure of the exact cause of lupus; however, it is more prevalent in women and women of color. There may also be a genetic component and environmental components such as stress, viruses and certain medications.