Lupus may sound like an exotic, rare disease, but it’s not one to be overlooked. Like many other life-threatening autoimmune diseases, it is important to know the early warning signs of Lupus so that any sufferers may begin battling it early on, even though it’s a very tough disease to identify.
Lupus Awareness Month is observed in May and aims to increase understanding amongst the general public – not just medical professionals – of what this disease can do and why it’s so key to know the facts.
The history of Lupus Awareness Month
Lupus is an incurable disease, but there do exist treatments which can make living with it more manageable and improve the prognosis of the patient significantly. It cannot be transmitted from person to person, but it does seem to appear more frequently in people who have a history of it in their families.
Lupus is a tricky disease to catch because it is often mistaken for other afflictions, which means it can go undetected for years without even the person affected knowing. Amongst other symptoms, sufferers may exhibit a fever, tiredness, an increase in mouth ulcers and may even develop arthritis.
A common symptom of a lupus sufferer can often be seen on the skin of the face; a bright red rash which runs from the bridge of the nose, under the eyes and across the cheeks. Because of its this, this is often known as the ‘butterfly rash’. This butterfly rash is one of the most commonly associated symptoms of the disease – in fact, it is likely to be where it got its name from, with a part of its scientific name lupus erythematosus – ‘erythroid’ being derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘red’.
Lupus can be diagnosed by use of various types of blood testing. However, the Lupus Foundation of America estimates that a massive 5 million people across the world are living with lupus, and a large number of these people don’t even know it.