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Friday, May 4, 2018

Lupus Awareness

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes swelling and inflammation. Lupus has a wide variety of symptoms but affects everyone differently. Some individuals may suffer great with more severe symptoms of Lupus and yet others have only a few symptoms. Lupus has the ability to damage any part of the body including skin, joints and / or organs.

Lupus leaves the immune system unable to fight off viruses, bacteria, and germs. Our bodies normally produce proteins known as "antibodies" that protect the body from these invaders. Many that suffer from Lupus will also have "autoimmunity " issues.  The individuals body can not tell the difference between foreign invaders and the healthy tissues of the body. This leads to Lupus attacking healthy tissues.

Lupus is not contagious. There is no way for another individual to catch the disease from someone else. Lupus is no way related to Cancer , as cancer is malignant, abnormal tissues that grow rapidly and spread to surrounding tissues. There are some Lupus medication that is also prescribed to patients undergoing chemotherapy. Lupus is also not related to HIV or AIDS as these immune system disorders are under-active and the immune system of Lupus is overactive.

Lupus ranges from mild to life threatening and should always be treated by a doctor. Good medical care can help most individuals with Lupus to lead a full life. Lupus symptoms normally start in early adulthood but can begin in teen years as well. Individuals with lupus can experience flare - ups of symptoms followed by periods of remission. Early symptoms include

  • Many with lupus will experience some level of fatigue. This does not relate to a simple afternoon nap but possibly sleeping to much. This may lead to insomnia if not careful, keeping busy with daily routine is the best bet to help keep energy levels up. 
  • Running a low grade fever with no apparent reason is another early sign of Lupus. There are other reasons for running a low grade fever as well these include inflammation or infections. If you continue to run a low grade fever it is time to see the doctor
  • One of the first things those suffering with lupus will notice is thinning hair. This is the result of inflammation of the skin and scalp. Some will lose hair in clumps, most will have thinning hair. Along these same lines is hair loss of beards, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Lupus often causes hair to feel brittle, break easily, and look a bit ragged. 
  • A butterfly shaped rash appears over the bridge of the nose and on both cheeks may be visible when lupus is present. The rash may occur suddenly or after being exposed to sunlight. Only about 50 % of those with Lupus will have this type of mask. Other visible signs include a non itchy lesion and discolored fingers and toes. 
  • The pulmonary system of those that suffer from Lupus may be affected as well. The lungs may become inflamed, swelling may happen in the Lung blood vessels. These symptoms may lead to chest pain that is known as pleuritic chest pain. The stress on the lungs after a period of time may shrink lung size. Shortness of breath as well as chest pain may lead to Shrinking lung syndrome. 
  • Individuals with lupus can develop nephritis, a type of kidney inflammation. This makes it difficult for the kidneys to filter toxins and waste from the blood. The Lupus foundation of America states that this symptom normally begins in the first 5 years of Lupus. 
  • Inflammation of the joints can cause pain, stiffness and visible swelling in joints. The inflammation ranges from mild to more obvious. Visit your doctor to see if these issues is because of Lupus or other conditions. 
  • Occasional heartburn, acid reflux or other gastrointestinal problem may be present in those that suffer from Lupus. Most symptoms can be treated  with OTC antacids. Other tips include eating smaller meals, avoiding caffeine beverages but if the symptom is consistent visit the doctor to rule out other conditions. 
  • People with lupus may develop autoimmune thyroid disease. The thyroid is what controls the body's metabolism. If a poorly functioning thyroid is present it can affect vital organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys, and liver. The condition can also be behind weight gain or weight loss. Dry skin, hair and moodiness is also often present. 
  • Those with Lupus often experience dry mouth and gritty dry eyes. A disease known as Sjogren's disease may be the reason for these. The glands responsible for tears and saliva malfunctions and lymphocytes accumulate in the glands. 

My Story"
My dad was affected by Lupus and I watched him live thru it daily. In the end he passed due to complications of Lupus. He was only in his 50s and was gone way to fast. My hope is one day they find a cure for Lupus so others do not have to struggle 

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