Lupus IS NOT a fake disease. It is very much real. People who are not educated on this autoimmune disease can sometimes bring down their loved ones who suffer from it. I know first hand. Lupus attacks your organs and tissues. Lupus is more common than one would expect as you do not hear about new cases or you may not even know anyone with it at all. There are over 200,000 new cases per year in the US alone according to the Mayo Clinic stats. There is currently no cure for Lupus, there are many treatments that may help, but none will cure you. Lupus is similar to, but not like, cancer. I say this because #1 you don't want to hear you have either one; #2 both can be deadly; #3 both attack your organs & tissues, though one is caused by a foreign antibody (cancer) where (lupus) attacks healthy bodies that are not foreign; #4 some treatments are the same i.e. chemotherapy. You normally end up having symptoms for years before you are finally diagnosed. Labs and imaging tests are usually used to help in diagnosis. Though your Lupus may eventually be put in remission, it is not cured. A Lupus flare can happen whenever it wants, there is usually no way to prevent as multiple foods, events, stress, etc., can cause a flare. Flares can last a day, a week, or years. The first organs normally affected are your kidneys, though it is not prejudice to attack your skin, joints, blood, brain, heart and lungs. Symptoms (not limited to):
Joint Pain (stiffness & swelling)
Rash (butterfly-shaped rash on the face is most common but rash can unexpectedly appear other places on your body as well.)
Photosensitivity (spots on your body that appear or worsen with sun exposure)
Shortness of Breath
Dry Eyes, nose, mouth or Ulcers
Confusion or memory loss
Risk Factors that may increase your risk of Lupus:
Female - Lupus is much more common in women than men.
Age - You're more likely to be diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 45, ALTHOUGH Lupus can be detected and diagnosed at any age.
Race - More common in African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans.
Even with the three main risk factors, Lupus isn't prejudice and a 53 year old Caucasian male has just the same chance of being diagnosed with Lupus as a 27 year old Latino Female. Being a Caucasian female myself, I was diagnosed finally at 33 years old, though there were tests when I was 30 that should have been further examined. I can look back through my life and know, this isn't new... so much would have led to this being diagnosed much earlier. I don't honestly think it was a big thing then. More testing is available to accurately diagnose this disease Inflammation caused by Lupus can affect many areas of your body and cause a lot of different complications for your health and life quality. Kidneys - serious kidney damage, kidney disease, kidney failure. Damage to this organ is the leading cause of death with Lupus. Brain & CNS - headaches, dizziness, behavior changes, vision problems, strokes and seizures. You may have problems with memory or expressing thoughts. Blood & Vessels - anemia, increase risk of bleeding, blood clotting, vasculitis. Lungs - pleurisy (inflammation of chest cavity lining) which can make it painful to breath. Bleeding into lungs, pneumonia. Heart - Pericarditis (inflammation of heart muscle, arteries, membranes). Increase risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Infection - Lupus cases an increased risk of infection due to your weakened immune system. Cancer - Lupus can increase your risk of cancer. Bone Tissue Death - occurs when your blood supply to a bone diminishes, leading to breaks in the bone and eventual collapse Pregnancy - Increased risk of miscarriage, high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia) and preterm birth. It is recommended to reduce the risk of these complications delay pregnancy until your disease is under control for at least six months. My personal experience with pregnancy with Lupus, I will post in my blog. It was a rough one and yes, I have suffered miscarriage and pre-eclampsia. For more information on Lupus please visit: www.mayoclinic.com www.lupus.org