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What is Lupus?

What is lupus? Lupus is an inflammatory disease that is caused by the immune system attacking the body’s own healthy tissues and organs such as the skin, joints, lungs, and kidneys. It can last for years or be lifelong

 

What causes lupus? The exact causes of lupus are unknown. It is believed that it may be triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors and sometimes drugs

Lupus is considered to be an invisible illness because patients don’t always look sick. Despite that, lupus has many signs and symptoms

 

Signs and symptoms: The common signs and symptoms are extreme fatigue, joint pain, rashes, fever, weight loss and many more

 

Lupus and Coronavirus (COVID-19): People with lupus are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. And if they do, the symptoms are likely to be serious. Patients need to take careful precautions to make sure they are not exposed to the virus

 

Lupus and Hydroxychloroquine: The recent news about hydroxychloroquine and how it may benefit those with COVID-19 has made it difficult for people with lupus to refill their hydroxychloroquine prescriptions. There’s a shortage. Help us tell the government to ensure access to life-saving medications for people with lupus!

 

Lupus affects over 5 million people worldwide of which 90% are women

 

Lupus is difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms are similar to those of other diseases. There is also no single laboratory test that can confirm it.

 

Treatments and lifestyle changes can help with lupus but this condition cannot be cured

 

World Lupus Day (May 10th)

 

Who treats lupus? Most patients see a rheumatologist and since any part of the body can be affected other specialists, such as nephrologists and dermatologists may be involved

 

Lupus is neither infectious nor contagious. However, people with lupus can easily catch infections

 

Types of lupus: Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE), Discoid/Cutaneous Lupus Erythematous, Neonatal Lupus

 

  • Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE): SLE is the most common type of lupus. It’s what’s usually referred to when the term ‘lupus’ is used. It can affect any part of the body including major organs such as the lungs, kidneys and the heart

 

  • Cutaneous/Discoid Lupus Erythematous (DLE): DLE is limited to just the skin. It can cause various red scaly rashes and lesions to appear on the face. Sometimes, people with DLE may develop SLE

 

  • Neonatal Lupus: Neonatal lupus occurs when mothers with lupus or antibodies related to lupus pass them on their newborns. The symptoms don’t have lasting effects and often disappear after a few months

 

Lupus affects each patient differently. No two cases are ever alike. The severity and body parts affected vary for each individual

 

Medications: The medications used to manage lupus mainly consists of immunosuppressant, steroids and anti-malarial drugs

 

Photosensitivity: The sun exacerbates lupus. Patients have to limit time spent in the sun. When they do they have to use protective gears such as sunscreen, sun hats, and umbrellas

 

Pregnancy is considered to be a high risk but most women with lupus can safely become pregnant and have healthy babies

 

Lupus and Fatigue: People with lupus usually experience extreme fatigue. Itlessens their ability to function at home and at work

 

Lupus and Brain Fog: People with lupus can experience brain fog. This is when one has difficulty focusing, a poor memory and experiences confusion

 

Flares occur when there is an increase in symptom severity. It’s important for people with lupus to identity their triggers to help prevent and minimize the severity of flares

  • Living well with lupus

    • Follow your treatment plan

    • Consider support groups

    • Be informed. Learn all you can about lupus

    • Get enough sleep and rest

    • Be sun safe

    • Reduce stress

    • Eat well

  • Caring for someone with lupus

    • Educate about lupus

    • Accept changes due to lupus and adjust

    • Be considerate

    • Be positive and encouraging

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