It’s no secret that I have an auto-immune disease called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE. This disease is very hard to diagnose and treatment for every patient is different. It has severely effected my life and what activities I am capable of. For instance, holding down a full- time job is out of the question. Part of the problem is that I also have Fibromyalgia which has a whole other set of side effects, some of which mimic Lupus. Cognitive dysfunction, muscle fatigue, tiredness and problems sleeping are just a few. And these few are just enough to change my health on a daily basis in an unpredictable nature. Sure I know if I am highly active one day I can expect the next to be a couch potato day because of the fatigue hangover but some days I can be bed ridden all day, the next day perfectly fine. With no indication of why.
Awareness of this diseases and others related to it is very important. It has been over fifty years, yes I said 50, since a drug has been successfully introduced to treat Lupus patients and that was an anti-malarial drug which I take today and is the most common treatment.
“Lupus Awareness Month is observed during May to increase public understanding of this unpredictable and potentially life-threatening disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans. Here’s today’s important facts about lupus:”
Lupus is an unpredictable and complex autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and can damage any organ in the body with life-threatening consequences.
Ninety percent of the people who develop lupus are female. Males also can develop lupus and their disease can be more severe in some organs.
Lupus develops most often between ages 15 and 44. However, between 10 and 20 percent of cases develop during childhood and these cases can evolve more rapidly into serious health complications.
In lupus, something goes wrong with the immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs. The result is the production of autoantibodies that causes inflammation.
Some people have genes that allow them to develop lupus. Factors that may trigger lupus in these people include infections, ultraviolet light, extreme stress, certain prescription drugs, and certain hormones.
Many symptoms of lupus mimic those of other illnesses, and symptoms can come and go over time, which makes diagnosis more difficult. Consequently, lupus can take three to five years or more to diagnose.
There is no single laboratory test that can determine whether a person has lupus. Diagnosing lupus involves analyzing the results of several lab tests, a review of the person’s entire medical history, and the history of close family members.
Lupus is treated by a rheumatologist, a physician who specializes in conditions affecting the joints and muscles. Some people with lupus may need additional care from specialists, like a dermatologist for skin problems, a nephrologist for kidney disease, or a cardiologist for heart complications.
More than 90 percent of people with lupus will experience joint and/or muscle pain that can be disabling. Medication and mind-body therapies can be used to help control the pain associated with lupus.
Lupus can be an expensive disease. The average annual cost to provide healthcare for a person with lupus is $12,643, and rises to nearly $21,000 when lost work productivity is included.
Want more information on Lupus or wish to donate to the cause? Follow the links below.
Lupus Foundation of America
World Lupus Day Pledge