Friday, October 20, 2006

Lupus ~ The disease with a thousand faces.


I want to take the time to bring everyones attention to a major disease that many don't know about. World Lupus Day is actually in May, but that doesn't matter. As many of you remember, I lost my aunt a few weeks ago. Her death was a result of a another flare up from this disease. Both my aunts were diagnosed with this disease a long time ago but each has very different symptoms.

I know this is a lot of information but so little is known of this disease that it is vital that the imformation get passed along. Please just take a moment to read about it.

Lupus has been called a disease with a thousand faces because the signs and symptoms vary considerably from person to person. No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly, may be mild or severe, and may be temporary or permanent. Even the distinctive rash that gives the disease its name — "lupus" is the Latin word for "wolf" because doctors once thought the rash resembled a wolf bite — doesn't occur in every case.

Most people with lupus have one thing in common, however, and that's the tendency of the disease to get decidedly worse in episodes called flares and then to improve or even disappear completely for a time.

A few important facts:

* Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease, which affects approximately 50,000 Canadians. In lupus, the immune system that protects the body from germs, viruses and bacteria begins to malfunction and fails to distinguish between the body's own tissues and these foreign invaders. As a result, the immune system attacks different parts of the body itself, causing inflammation in those tissues. This inflammation gives rise to the symptoms that characterize lupus.

* Lupus can affect men, women and children of all ages, However, it develops most frequently in women between the ages of fifteen and forty-five. In this age range, lupus is eight times more common in women than in men. For individuals younger than 15 or older than 45, lupus seems to affect either sex equally.

*Lupus is more prevalent than AIDS, sickle-cell anemia, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and cystic fibrosis combined. Research data shows that between 1,400,000 and 2,000,000 people have been diagnosed with lupus. (Study conducted by Bruskin/Goldring Research, 1994)

Test yourself for LUPUS...

~Have you ever had achy, painful and/or swollen joints for more than three months?
~Do your fingers and/or toes become pale, numb or uncomfortable in the cold?
~Have you had any sores in your mouth for more than two weeks?
~Have you ever been told that you have a low blood count(s) - anemia, low white cell count or a low platelet count?
~Have you ever had a prominent redness or colour change in the shape of a butterfly across the bridge of your nose and cheeks?
~Have you ever had an unexplained fever over 100 degrees for more than a few days?
~Have you ever had a sensitivity to the sun where your skin "breaks out" after being in the sun (not a sunburn)?
~Have you ever had chest pain with breathing for more than a few days (pleurisy)?
~Have you ever been told you have protein in your urine?
~Have you ever experienced persistent, extreme fatigue and weakness for days or even weeks at a time, even after 6-8 hours of restful nighttime sleep?
~Have you ever had a seizure or convulsion?

~If you answer "yes" to at least three of these questions, there is a possibility you may have lupus. We suggest you call your doctor for an examination and to discuss any questions you may have about lupus (Taken from the Lupus Foundation of Ontario website)

Lupus International
Lupus Canada
The Lupus Foundation of America

5 comments:

Nicki said...

I was looking around for blogs about lupus and ran into yours. I just wrote a blog about it being lupus awareness month and I had no clue. Sorry about your Aunt. its nice to see people post things about Lupus because there are so many that arent aware of how horrible this disease can be.

FeyRhi said...

I have 2 family members that have been diagnosed and another that they suspect might have it as well. I forget that it is pratically unknown to the rest of the world. It's nice to see that I am not the only one writing about it today Thank you.

Good Guy said...

Cool info.

Sunburn Guy

Mechele Armstrong said...

My aunt passed away last year (I think) from lupus. It's a nasty little disease. Hugs

FeyRhi said...

((Michele)) Your right. It's a terrible one. I'm sorry to hear about your aunt.