What Is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic (long-term) autoimmune disease. No one knows why you get lupus or why it appears to affect women more than men. Even children can develop lupus.
There is no cure but there are treatments for symptoms. Current treatments will help some patients but not so much for other patients.
Lupus typically causes chronic pain and reduced quality of life. It can become life-threatening if the disease starts to attack the internal organs.
Most patients don’t have “just” lupus. A large number have Sjogren’s as well and/or other autoimmune diseases. Some of us have Overlap Disease which is multiple autoimmune diseases with symptoms that overlap. My doctors can’t tell me which disease is causing each of my symptoms. For example, the lung disease I developed can be caused by my Sjogren’s, Scleroderma, or lupus.
Lupus can target the entire body from head to toe as this picture shows.
Lupus is one of the cruelest, most mysterious diseases on earth—an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmuneLupus.Org
disease that ravages different parts of the body. Research shows lupus is more pervasive and more severe than people
think, and has an impact that the public doesn’t realize. You can change that! Help the Lupus Foundation of America
raise awareness of lupus and show support for those who suffer from its brutal impact
Some facts you may not know about lupus:
- Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body.
- No two cases of lupus are alike. Common symptoms include joint pain, skin rashes, overwhelming fatigue, and fevers that last for days or weeks. Most people with lupus don’t look sick.
- Lupus can impact any organ or tissue, from the skin or joints to the heart or kidneys. Two leading causes of serious illness and death from lupus are kidney disease and heart disease.
- Lupus usually develops between ages 15 and 44 and it lasts a lifetime.
- Lupus can strike anyone, but 90 percent of the people living with lupus are females. Men, children, and teenagers develop lupus too.
- While people of all races and ethnicities can develop lupus, lupus occurs two to three times more frequently among African Americans, Asians, Hispanics/Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans than among Caucasians.
- While the causes of lupus are unknown, scientists believe hormones, genetics (heredity), and environmental factors are involved—more research is needed to better understand the role of these factors in people with lupus.
- Lupus can be expensive to live with and treat. The average annual direct and indirect costs incurred by a person with lupus can exceed $21,000 annually, a higher cost per patient than those living with heart disease, bipolar disorder, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.
- Lupus can be difficult to diagnose. There is NO single blood test to diagnose lupus, and its symptoms mimic those of other diseases, vary in intensity, and can come and go over time. More than half of those afflicted with lupus suffered at least four years and saw three or more doctors before obtaining a correct diagnosis of lupus.
- Early diagnosis is crucial to preventing long-term consequences of the disease. If you notice signs or symptoms of lupus, be sure to engage your doctor and ask questions.