Let’s understand Lupus together!

Let's understand Lupus together!

I’ve been living with lupus for almost a decade. Being an autoimmune patient has taught me so much about myself, as well as it has put me on my tiptoes. Today, I thrive to live my life to the fullest.

 

Near my birthday in 2013, I was having a lot of pain, lots of rashes on my body, and constantly tired no matter how much I was sleeping. I thought it was just too much stress, but I was wrong.

 

The diagnosis got me by surprise, and it was a horrible moment. I felt I had lost everything. Nevertheless, I decided to look for answers, find new doctors, and learn more about the condition. And today, I want to talk about the Lupus basics.

 

On October 16th will happen the Virtual Lupus Walk 2021 and it is a particular time to raise awareness about the disease. So, please, share this blog with your family and friends, and let’s end lupus together!

 

What is lupus?

 

Lupus is a chronic (long-term) disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of your body. It’s an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system — the body system that usually fights infections — attacks healthy tissue instead.

 

Lupus most commonly affects your: skin, joints, internal organs, like your kidneys and heart. Because lupus affects many parts of the body, it can cause a lot of different symptoms.

 

When people talk about lupus, they’re usually talking about systemic lupus. But there are four kinds of lupus:

 

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common form of lupus

Cutaneous lupus, a form of lupus that is limited to the skin

Drug-induced lupus, a lupus-like disease caused by certain prescription drugs

Neonatal lupus, a rare condition that affects infants of women who have lupus

 

Anyone can develop lupus. But certain people are at higher risk for lupus, including:

 

  • Women ages 15 to 44 – 9 out of 10 people with lupus are women.
  • Certain racial or ethnic groups — including African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, or Pacific Islander.
  • People who have a family member with lupus or another autoimmune disease.

 

No one knows what causes lupus — but lupus and other autoimmune diseases do run in families. Experts also think it may develop in response to certain hormones (like estrogen) or environmental triggers – something outside the body that can bring on symptoms of lupus — or make them worse.

 

Lupus is not contagious—you can’t “catch” lupus or give it to someone else.

 

There is no one first sign or symptom of lupus. The early signs and symptoms of lupus are generally the same as those of lupus, including extreme fatigue, joint pain, or a butterfly rash. However, the early signs vary widely from person to person.

 

A doctor can help you with a diagnosis to determine if the symptoms you’re feeling could be lupus.

 

But the most common lupus symptoms (which are the same for men and women) are:

 

Extreme fatigue (feeling tired all the time);

Pain or swelling in the joints;

Swelling in the hands, feet, or around the eyes;

Headaches;

Low fevers;

Sensitivity to sunlight or fluorescent light;

Chest pain when breathing deeply;

 

Many people with lupus also have problems that affect their skin and hair, like:

 

A butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and nose;

Hair loss;

Sores in the mouth or nose;

Fingers and toes turning white or blue and feeling numb when a person is cold or stressed (Raynaud’s Disease).

 

The burden of lupus on daily life can be devastating:

 

65% of people with lupus say chronic pain is the most challenging part of having lupus.

76% of lupus patients say fatigue caused by lupus has forced them to cut back on social activities.

89% of people with lupus say they can no longer work full-time due to lupus complications.

 

That is why we all should take part in this cause. To engage in this year’s Virtual Walk to End Lupus Now, register here!

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