May is Lupus Awareness Month. It is a time dedicated to raising awareness of the physical, emotional, and economic effect, lupus has on people living with the disease. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. Lupus is a chronic disease that can cause inflammation. Inflammation can affect the body’s joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. There is no cure for lupus, however treatment options are available to help control symptoms.
Symptoms can vary from person to person. No two lupus cases are alike. Symptoms may develop slowly or suddenly and may vary from mild to severe. The symptoms of lupus depend on which part of the body is affected. The most common symptoms include:
Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose or rashes elsewhere on the body
Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure
Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods
Shortness of breath
Headaches, confusion, and memory loss
There is no one clear cause of lupus. Studies have shown lupus can be linked to specific triggers, including:
Lupus risk factors include:
Sex: Lupus is more common in women.
Age: Although lupus affects people of all ages, it's most often diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 45.
Race: Lupus is more common in African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans.
It is important to see a doctor immediately if you develop an unexplained rash, continuous fever, or persistent fatigue. If experiencing any symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical attention, only a doctor can give an accurate diagnosis and treatment. For more lupus resources and information, visit the Lupus Foundation of America at lupus.org.
1. “Lupus Awareness Month.” Lupus Foundation of America, Lupus Foundation of America, https://www.lupus.org/lupus-awareness-month.
2. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Lupus.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 27 Jan. 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lupus/symptoms-causes/syc-20365789.