May is Lupus Awareness Month. For the entire month of May, I’ll personally be sharing a few facts and resources via my social profiles to further spread more knowledge of this disease. Lupus Awareness Month and Lupus, in general, happens to be a topic near and dear to me for the simple fact that my mother has been living with Lupus for over 5 years now. It wasn’t until this time last year where I began to notice the disease take its toll on both her mental and physical health.
***FACT*** Lupus affects men, women, and children. There are 1.5 million people in the U.S out of over 5 million worldwide living with a form of Lupus.
If you’re not familiar with this chronic illness, Lupus is a life-threatening auto-immune disease that can damage any organ within your body. Affecting your heart, lungs, and more. It’s also a disease that is predominately found in women. You may not know but celebrities such as Toni Braxton, Seal, Lady Gaga, Nick Cannon, and other celebs all suffer from some form of Lupus. To learn more about Lupus Awareness Month and the disease itself, read on for more information.
What Is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years. In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs (“foreign invaders,” like the flu).
Autoimmune means your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues (“auto” means “self”) and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.
What Is The Cause of Lupus?
No gene or group of genes has been proven to cause lupus. Lupus does, however, appear in certain families, and when one of two identical twins has lupus, there is an increased chance that the other twin will also develop the disease.
Although lupus can develop in people with no family history of lupus, there are likely to be other autoimmune diseases in some family members. Certain ethnic groups (people of African, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Island descent) have a greater risk of developing lupus, which may be related to genes they have in common.
There are several forms of Lupus and if you have any of the symptoms of lupus, it’s best to go see a medical professional to get detailed testing for your health.
***FACT*** The butterfly symbol is often seen associated with Lupus campaigns and logos symbolizing the malar rash or butterfly-like flare that often appears across the mid t-zone (under eyes and across the nose) area of Lupus patients.
Lupus Awareness Month | What are the Risk Factors?
- More than 90 percent of people with lupus are women.
- Symptoms and diagnosis occur most often when women are in their childbearing years, between the ages of 15 and 44. Symptoms of lupus will occur before age 18 in 15 percent of the people who are later diagnosed with the disease.
- In the United States, lupus is more common in people of color — African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders – than in the Caucasian population. It also appears that lupus develops at an earlier age and is more severe among members of these ethnic groups.
- Relatives of people with lupus have an approximately 5-13 percent chance of developing lupus. However, only about 5 percent of children will develop lupus if their mother has lupus.
Be sure to share this post with your friends and others to spread awareness. Don’t forget, May 10th is World Lupus Day! You can also Put On Purple for May 17th!