By Nasreen Subrati
This week, we were supposed to look at Celebrities Living with Lupus.
However, I thought we would go over some lupus facts instead and cover Celebrities Living with Lupus next week.
A few facts on Lupus:
Lupus is known as the silent killer or great imitator cos it can mimic other illnesses, thereby making it very difficult to diagnose.
It is also known as an invisible illness as it is on the inside, not on the out.
Lupus is a leading cause of premature cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and stroke among young women.
An Anti-Nuclear Factor (ANF) blood test is commonly used to diagnose SLE, as well as your current symptoms, your medical history and your close family medical history.
Since lupus is highly individualized and no two cases are exactly alike, the treatment also varies depending on the symptoms and needs of the patient.
Lupus varies in intensity and degree. Some people have a mild case, others moderate and some severe, which tends to be more difficult to treat and control.
90 percent of people diagnosed with lupus are women of colour between the child-bearing ages of 15-44, women in their prime of their life.
The other 10 percent are men, children, babies and women of non-colour.
This is a genetic disease, not hereditary.
Research suggests that genes play an important role, but genes alone do not determine who gets lupus. It is likely that many factors trigger the disease.
It is important to note that Lupus is not contagious.
It is not known what causes lupus and it is currently incurable and the various medications used are just to control or suppress it.
87 % of sufferers downplay their symptoms to their family and friends and suffer in silence.
Support from family, friends, etc. are very important and when that is not received, one gets easily depressed.
Lupus sufferers become easily depressed as it is not just an illness but a lifestyle change.
There are lots that we become unable to do. But in the same instance Lupus sufferers are some of the strongest people you will ever meet.
With lupus, we learn to listen to our bodies and get to know where our organs are in our body and the names of all our many medications taken daily.
It is important to have an excellent relationship with your GP, rheumatologist and all the other -ologists.
Lupus sufferers are at great risk of picking up infections when our white cell count is low and immune system becomes compromised.
We then need to take protective measures of using face masks and gloves when there is a need to go out in public. This can sometimes make one feel ostracised.
Lupus turns strangers into family and family into strangers.
A lupus sufferer can be fine now and in an instant that can change. If we have an outing, tomorrow we pay the price.
Lupus is not a form of arthritis, but many people with lupus do suffer from joint and / or muscle pain.
Though all pregnancies of women with lupus are considered “high risk”, advancing technology and a better understanding of the disease have improved pregnancy outcomes.
Today, 80 percent of women with lupus symptoms that are not active can have successful pregnancies.
Based on a recent study, it takes an average of six years for people with lupus to be diagnosed from the time they first notice their lupus symptoms.
First degree relatives of people with lupus (parent, sibling or child) have six times the risk of developing the disease.
People with lupus usually are encouraged to engage in appropriate daily exercise to maintain muscle and bone strength, but they also need to balance exercise with rest.
People with lupus take on average nearly eight prescription medications to manage all of their medical conditions including lupus.
About half of all people with lupus will experience a serious infection during the course of their disease.
As many as 60 percent of people with lupus will experience some type of memory problem, such as recalling names, dates and appointments or balancing a cheque book.
May is Lupus month and the colour for lupus is purple.
The lupus hand sign.
The lupus logo is the butterfly.
Thank you for reading and educating yourself about Lupus. Raise awareness and save a life, save a soul.
Next week we will look at Celebrities Living with Lupus. Much Love and Respect, always. Nas.