LUPUS AWARENESS MONTH…

Lupus Awareness

Lupus Awareness Month takes place during October. Lupus is an incurable immune system condition that is assumed to be genetic and mainly affects females. The condition shares a lot of symptoms in common with other conditions, however, joint pain, muscle pain and extreme tiredness will not go away no matter how much you rest. It can also affect vital organs. Causes are a few including things like a viral infection, trauma and environmental factors such as sunlight.

LUPUS UK, are trying to raise awareness of lupus with Lupus Awareness Month. Due to the overlap with other conditions many GPs may not recognise the symptoms as lupus at first.

It is estimated that 50,000 people in the UK have lupus but there are many more undiagnosed.

To help raise awareness LUPUS UK is encouraging Lupus patients to adopt a hospital by ordering leaflets and display boards for our local hospital. Alternatively have a Lunch4Lupus during October and instead of guests bringing you a gift, ask them to donate to Lupus UK.

LUPUS UK is the only national registered charity supporting people with systemic lupus and discoid lupus and assisting those approaching diagnosis. We presently have over 6000 Members and a number of Regional Groups around the UK who arrange medical talks, publish local newsletters, set up local occasions and organise fundraising events. LUPUS UK also produces an informative national magazine with lupus articles, letters, reports, and photographs, and operates a strong Grant Programme for research purposes and welfare.

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7 thoughts on “LUPUS AWARENESS MONTH…

  1. Common Symptoms are Achy, swollen joints; fever; skin rashes; fatigue—these are so me of the more typical symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic, inflammatory disorder of the immune system that affects several body systems simultaneously.

    Approximately 250 thousand people in the UK have some form of lupus.

    SLE is classified as an autoimmune disorder because the body’s immune system, which normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses, also targets healthy tissue, so me times including skin, joints, kidneys, brain, heart and lungs. The condition can result in immediately serious or life-threatening problems or in chronic low-grade symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches, which affect the quality of life.

    In Latin, lupus means wolf, and erythematosus means redness. Physicians who first described the disease thought that one of its characteristic rashes looked liked a wolf bite. The terms “SLE” and “lupus” are often used interchangeably, but there are several kinds of lupus, including:

    • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) can affect almost any organ or system in the body. In some people with systemic lupus, only the skin and joints are involved; in others, the joints, lungs, kidneys, blood, or other organs and/or tissues are all affected.

    Any two people with systemic lupus will be unlikely to have all the same symptoms. Systemic lupus may include remission periods, during which few or no symptoms are evident, and “flares,” when the disease becomes active.

    • Cutaneous lupus erythematosus, also called discoid lupus (DLE), involves the development of lesions on the face or other sun-exposed areas. The lesions are abnormally red, raised, hard bumps or plaques.

    They may include an overgrowth of scaly tissue, plugged hair follicles and abnormally widened small blood vessels. Thinning of the healing skin, called atrophic scarring, as well as loss of color in the skin, called dyspigmentation, may occur in older lesions.

    If the condition involves the scalp, there may be permanent scarring and loss of hair. Lesions are usually on the face or other sun-exposed areas, but they can also occur in the mouth, nose or vagina.

    Many people have DLE without SLE. In approximately 10 percent of these cases, DLE later progresses to the more severe SLE. This is more likely to happen in patients with lesions both above and below the neck.

    •Drug-induced lupus is caused by certain medications, the most common being: procainamide (Pronesyl), used for heart rhythm abnormalities; hydralazine (Hydra-Zide), used for high blood pressure; and isoniazid (Nydrazid), used for tuberculosis.

    Drug-induced lupus usually doesn’t affect the kidneys or central nervous system and typically improves within six months of when the drug is discontinued. There are also medications that can induce a specific form of cutaneous lupus, subacute cutaneous lupus.

    • Neonatal lupus, a very rare condition in a small percentage of newborns whose mothers have lupus, results from the passage of autoantibodies from the mother to her baby, specifically anti-Ro/SSA or anti-La/SSB, which can affect the skin, heart and blood of the fetus and newborn.

    The most common symptom of neonatal lupus is an uncomplicated rash that appears within the first several weeks of life and may persist for about six months before disappearing. Less frequently, fetuses with neonatal lupus develop a congenital heart block.

    However, many of these babies do well with a pacemaker at birth. If a fetal heart condition is identified early enough during pregnancy, it might be possible to treat it with steroids or immunosuppressive drugs.

    In general, women are far more likely than men to develop autoimmune disorders, and SLE certainly fits that paradigm, occurring up to 10 times more frequently among adult women than among men.

    It is also more common in Afro-Britains, and Asians than in Caucasians. Although lupus can develop at any age, it is usually diagnosed in women during their child bearing years.

    Cutaneous lupus occurs more frequently in women, but the ratio of women to men is somewhat lower than with SLE.

    If you have a parent, child or sibling with lupus, your risk of developing the disease is somewhat higher, although your health care professional probably won’t test you for the disease unless you develop symptoms. There is no known cure for SLE, but there are treatments designed to minimize symptoms and effects.

    Lupus seems to result from a combination of genes and environment. Scientists think that people may inherit a predisposition to developing lupus but not lupus itself. People who inherit the predisposition to the disease may develop lupus after they come in contact with something that triggers it, such as a virus or medication.

    The number and type of lupus symptoms vary widely among patients. Symptoms also tend to wax and wane, with patterns of inactive disease bracketed by lupus “flares.”

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  2. Thank you soooo much for all that information tel, you are obviously a sufferer yourself? or someone close to you to know so much about it. It’s definitely one of those diseases that is very misunderstood. Thanks again.

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