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 fact about lupus.
May 1: Lupus is an unpredictable and complex autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and can damage any organ in the body with life-threatening consequences.
May 2: 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.
May 3: 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.
May 4: 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.
May 5: 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.
May 6: 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.
May 7: 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.
May 8: 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.
May 9: 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.
May 10: 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.
May 11: African Americans, Hispanics/Latinas, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans are diagnosed with lupus two or three times more frequently than Caucasians; however, lupus affects people of all races and ethnicities.
May 12: Successful treatment of lupus often requires a combination of medications. A new treatment for lupus was approved recently, and nearly two-dozen clinical studies are underway to develop a full arsenal of treatments.
May 13: As many as 80 percent of people with lupus experience fatigue. For some, fatigue can be debilitating, even to the point of forcing them to stop working.
May 14: People with lupus are usually encouraged to engage in appropriate daily exercise in order to maintain muscle and bone strength. Care should be taken, however, to balance exercise with rest.
May 15: Systemic lupus is the most common type of lupus. Systemic lupus can affect any organ system of the body, including the heart, kidneys, lungs, blood, joints, and skin.
May 16: Discoid lupus (the most common form of skin lupus) accounts for approximately 10 percent of all cases of lupus and occurs in 20 percent of those with systemic lupus.
May 17: Drug-induced lupus is a lupus-like disease caused by taking specific prescription drugs. The symptoms usually disappear after these medications are stopped.
May 18: Women with lupus are at increased risk for loss of bone mass (osteoporosis) and are nearly five times more likely to experience a fracture.
May 19: Blood disorders such as anemia (a low number of circulating red blood cells) are common in lupus, affecting about half of all people with active disease.
May 20: People with lupus should eat a nutritious, well-balanced, and varied diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and moderate amounts of fish and lean meats. Lifestyle adjustments should always include quitting smoking, as tobacco products can cause flares of lupus symptoms.
May 21: More than 80 percent of people with systemic lupus will experience some type of nervous system complication, ranging from mild confusion or memory loss to strokes, seizures, and vision problems.
May 22: The malar, or “butterfly” rash on the face is present in about one-third of those with systemic lupus. This flat, reddish rash across the bridge of the nose and cheeks, is often the only visible symptom of this form of lupus.
May 23: As many as 40 percent of all people with lupus, and as many as two-thirds of all children with lupus, will develop kidney complications that require treatment.
May 24: Only 10 percent of people with lupus will have a close relative who has lupus or may develop lupus, and only five percent of children born to a mother with lupus will develop the disease.
May 25: About 40 percent of people who were originally diagnosed with cutaneous lupus, which affects only the skin, will go on to develop systemic lupus that can affect any organ in the body.
May 26: Neonatal lupus is a rare condition that affects infants of women who have lupus. With proper testing, physicians can identify most at-risk mothers, and the infant can be successfully treated before or at birth.
May 27: Lupus is not contagious and cannot be “given” to another person. Lupus is not like or related to HIV/AIDS or any other infectious disease.
May 28: With current methods of therapy, 80 to 90 percent of people with non-organ threatening lupus can look forward to a normal lifespan.
May 29: Advancing technology and better understanding of the disease have improved pregnancy outcomes. Today, 80 percent of women with inactive lupus can have successful pregnancies.
May 30: Most people with lupus are able to continue to work. However, some people may require modifications to their work environment and schedules, such as flexible work hours, job-sharing, and telecommuting.
May 31: Today people with lupus are leading healthier lives and living longer than at any time in history, thanks to researchers who continue to discover more about the underlying science of the immune system.
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Click Here to donate to team Lupie Chicks in the 2012 Walk for Lupus- Baltimore MD – September 29, 2012
Click Here to Join Team Lupie Chicks in the 2012 Walk for Lupus- Baltimore MD – September 29, 2012