The month of May is National Lupus Awareness Month & within the past year I have learned alot about this devastating, sometimes fatal, auto-immune chronic condition & I would like to support those suffering & living life to their fullest, like myself, with this debilitating disease by putting on purple tomorrow. If you wish to support those with Lupus, grab something PURPLE tomorrow & make sure to explain why you’re sporting the fun color. If you are in the dark about Lupus, know someone with it, perhaps you have it or may think you have it, here is some information about Lupus. Below is some info I have gathered about Lupus. Please consult your Doctor for more detailed info as I AM NOT A DOCTOR! but learning, like you 🙂
Systemic lupus erythematosus (S.L.E.), commonly called lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disorder that can affect virtually any organ of the body. In lupus, the body’s immune system, which normally functions to protect against foreign invaders, becomes hyperactive, forming antibodies that attack normal tissues and organs, including the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, and blood. Lupus is characterized by periods of illness, called flares, and periods of wellness, or remission.
Because its symptoms come and go and mimic those of other diseases, lupus is difficult to diagnose. There is no single laboratory test that can definitively prove that a person has this complex illness.
- Lupus is not contagious, not even through sexual contact. You cannot “catch” lupus from someone or “give” lupus to someone.
- Lupus is not like or related to cancer. Cancer is a condition of malignant, abnormal tissues that grow rapidly and spread into surrounding tissues. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, as described above.
- Lupus is not like or related to HIV (Human Immune Deficiency Virus) or AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). In HIV or AIDS the immune system is under active; in lupus, the immune system is overactive.
- Our research estimates that at least 1.5 million Americans have lupus. The actual number may be higher; however, there have been no large-scale studies to show the actual number of people in the U.S. living with lupus.
- It is believed that 5 million people throughout the world have a form of lupus.
- Lupus strikes mostly women of childbearing age (15-44). However, men, children, and teenagers develop lupus, too.
- Women of color are 2-3 times more likely to develop lupus.
- People of all races and ethnic groups can develop lupus.
- More than 16,000 new cases of lupus are reported annually across the country
The most common symptoms of Lupus that are reported are:
- extreme tiredness/fatigue
- painful or swollen joints
- anemia (low numbers of red blood cells or hemoglobin, or low total blood volume)
- swelling (edema) in feet, legs, hands, and/or around eyes
- pain in chest on deep breathing (pleurisy)
- butterfly shaped rash across cheeks and nose
- sun or light-sensitivity (photosensitivity)
- hair loss
- abnormal blood clotting
- fingers turning white and/or blue when cold (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
mouth or nose ulcers
Many of these symptoms occur in other illnesses besides lupus. In fact, lupus is sometimes called “the great imitator” because its symptoms are often like the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, blood disorders, fibromyalgia, diabetes, thyroid problems, Lyme disease, and a number of heart, lung, muscle, and bone diseases.
You can also post pictures of yourself in purple by visiting the Lupus Foundation of America’s Facebook page.
(Above right, Pop Queen Lady GaGa is borderline-positive for Lupus, & admits to feeling the effects of its fatigue symptoms.)