6 Things You Need To Know About Lupus
5 million people around the globe are suffering from lupus.
Lupus affects nine times more women than men, and more women of color than white women
- Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease
- It affects nine times more women than men
- People with lupus are at a risk for many other diseases
So, here are 6 things you need to know about lupus:
1. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease
While the body's immune system is designed to protect one from disease and infection by producing antibodies to destroy harmful invaders such as bacteria, viruses, or toxins, in an autoimmune disease the body's immune system misidentifies the normal, healthy cells as being foreign and attacks them by mistake. The combination of autoimmune and chronic, which is long lasting ranging from months to years, makes Lupus a difficult disease to cope up with, especially considering the fact that it has the probability to recur.
2. There is no known cause for lupus
While the exact causes of lupus are unknown, research has found strong evidence that both genetics and environmental factors are involved. It is claimed that first degree relatives of people with lupus (parent, child, sibling etc) have six times the risk of developing lupus. Despite of it, it is still unknown whether or not genetic predisposition is absolutely necessary for developing lupus in the first place. Scientists include sunlight, stress, hormones, cigarette smoke, certain drugs, and infectious agents such as viruses," particularly the Epstein-Barr virus, in the list of potential triggers for the lupus.
3. Lupus affects nine times more women than men, and more women of color than white women
Studies suggest that women in the prime childbearing years, i.e. 15 to 49, are more prone to developing lupus and evidence suggests that the hormone estrogen may have a role. Lupus is most prevalent in African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American women, and they are at the risk of developing Lupus at an earlier age and develop severe complications later on.
4. Lupus can differ greatly from person to person
Some symptoms are common to other conditions, too, which can make diagnosis difficult. Common lupus symptoms include:
- Constant fatigue
- Achy joints
- A butterfly-shaped rash around the cheeks and nose
- Hair loss
- Blood clots
- Sensitivity to light
- Chest pain when breathing
- Mouth sores
- Swelling in the extremities or around the eyes
An estimate about the recognition of lupus taking 6 years is a startling one. Lupus's wide range of symptoms is frequently attributed to other conditions, like psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or Crohn's disease, to name a few, before a correct diagnosis is received. To manage the conditions related to lupus, people take 8 prescription medications on average. And with the varying symptoms, everybody has a different treatment plan.
.6 People with lupus are at a risk for many other diseases
People who have lupus are at risk for many other medical illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, poor mental health, renal disease, blood clotting, stroke, heart failure and high blood pressure. The potential for these complications is a source of fear for many of those who live with lupus.
Keeping in mind that lupus is not a curable condition and requires lifelong care, it is important to spread the word about something as serious as lupus in order to make sure that the disease is diagnosed in time before it turns out to be life threatening.