04 May Wellness Wisdom – May is Lupus Awareness Month
Lupus is a chronic and complex autoimmune disease, lupus can affect the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels that causes a widespread inflammation and tissue damage in organs. Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer that six weeks and often many years. In Lupus, something goes wrong with the immune system which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria and germs.
There are 5 Million people in the world who are affected by this disease with 16,000 new cases each year. Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign is a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks. Other signs and symptoms of lupus will depend on which body system is affected by the disease. The most common sign and symptoms include:
• Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
• Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose or rashes elsewhere on the body
• Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure (photosensitivity)
• Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed too cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Dry eyes
• Headaches, confusion and memory loss
To be diagnosed with Lupus you may need to see various types of doctors. Once diagnosed your primary physician for lupus should be a rheumatologist who treats arthritis and other disease that causes swelling in the joints. There is no cure at this time for Lupus however there are several ways to live with lupus treat, prevent or treat flares, prevent or reduce organ and joint damage, reduce swelling and pain, help the immune system and balance hormones. Diet and exercise plays an important role with Lupus as well as all disease. Always consult your physician when you notice any changes with your health.
Written by LaVella Head