This weekend the boys and I had the privilege of walking with my friend and sister, Alena in support of a cure for Lupus. Watching the swarms of families decked out in purple tees, tutus and beads made for an extraordinary day, the weather cooperated and all seemed to be having a great time. I’ll admit that besides knowing it is often triggered by stress and that two of my friends are currently living with the disease I know very little about Lupus. So I decided to do some light research and here’s some what I’ve found:
What is Lupus, and what causes it?
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body).
There are many kinds of lupus. The most common type, systemic lupus erythematosus, affects many parts of the body. Other types of lupus are:
- Discoid lupus erythematosus—causes a skin rash that doesn’t go away
- Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus—causes skin sores on parts of the body exposed to sun
- Drug-induced lupus—can be caused by medications
- Neonatal lupus—a rare type of lupus that affects newborns
The cause of Lupus is unknown, Research suggests that genes play an important role, but genes alone do not determine who gets lupus. It is likely that many factors trigger the disease.
Who can get Lupus?
Anyone can get Lupus, but women are effected at much greater rates than men. Women of color are more likely to be diagnosed than Caucasian women.
What are the symptoms of Lupus?
Symptoms vary but some of the more common ones are:
- Pain or swelling in joints
- Muscle pain
- Fever with no known cause
- Red rashes, most often on the face
- Chest pain when taking a deep breath
- Hair loss
- Pale or purple fingers or toes
- Sensitivity to the sun
- Swelling in legs or around eyes
- Mouth ulcers
- Swollen glands
- Feeling very tired.
How is Lupus Diagnosed and Treated?
There is no single test to diagnose lupus, and diagnoses can take months sometimes years. Your Dr. may utilize several things to determine diagnosis, like medical history, skin and kidney biopsies, and blood tests.
Because of the various conditions/symptoms of Lupus, you may need several Dr.’s to help you control and treat flare ups as well as maintain reduce damage and maintain healthy organs. Lupus is also treated with medications specifically for Lupus but also for high cholesterol and blood pressure.
Once Diagnosed, What Can You Do?*
One key to living with lupus is to know about the disease and its impact. Being able to spot the warning signs of a flare can help you prevent the flare or make the symptoms less severe.You should see your doctor often, even when symptoms are not severe. These visits will help you and your doctor to:
- Look for changes in symptoms
- Predict and prevent flares
- Change the treatment plan as needed
- Detect side effects of treatment.
It is also important to find ways to cope with the stress of having lupus. Exercising and finding ways to relax may make it easier for you to cope. A good support system can also help
This Q&A game was helpful for me to learn more about Lupus, give it a click and they will donate $1 for research for every level you complete, Know Lupus.Org And if you have a few cents laying around consider donating to : Lupus Walk 2015
* Information was provided by Niam,Nih.gov