Monday, May 4, 2015

Lupus Awareness Month

May is Lupus Awareness Month. In honor of this fact, I offer you a few facts about the disease:

1. Roughly 90% of all lupus patients are women.

2. The majority of lupus patients are diagnosed between the ages of 15-44, although children and people older than 44 can also develop the disease.

3. There are several kinds of lupus:

  • Systemic: the disease attacks different parts of the body
  • Discoid: the disease only attacks the skin (generally)
  • Drug-induced: the disease is triggered by a medication and generally goes away after you stop taking the drug
  • Neonatal: this occurs when the mother has lupus, and her immune system attacks her baby before it is born.
4. African American women are 3 times more likely to develop lupus than white women.

5. African Americans and Latinos are more likely to develop kidney disease as a result of lupus.

6. Lupus can cause hair loss, even in young women in girls. This sucks.

7. Lupus patients generally have the energy of stoned sloths. This is medically known as "extreme fatigue," but somehow the term doesn't do the condition justice.

8. Lupus patients have to wait, on average, 6 years for a diagnosis.

9. Drugs commonly used to treat lupus include corticosteroids, chemotherapy, and immunosuppressants commonly given to organ transplant patients. They're lots of fun.

10. There has only been one drug, Benlysta, developed and approved for the treatment of lupus. One. Drug. Ever.

11. Lupus rarely comes alone. It brings friends. Among these are Raynaud's, Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, Sjogren's Syndrome and Scleroderma.

12. There is no single test for lupus. This is very frustrating.

13. Lupus varies widely from patient to patient; no two patients have exactly the same symptoms.

14. There are things you can do to help a lupus patient. I've offered some ideas, but you can always just ask the lupus patient in your life.

More information can be found by clicking on the hyperlinks in the text. Other sources include: