We’ve all heard of lupus, yet very few of us know what it is or what the symptoms are, never mind that there is an actual day set aside for awareness of this serious disease. World Lupus Day began 10 years ago by an international steering committee representing lupus organizations from 13 different nations They issued a Proclamation as a call to action for governments around the world to increase their financial support for lupus research, awareness and patient services.
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body) and can even cause death. The signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years. With lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue, causing inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body. Every day, more than 5 million people worldwide struggle with the often debilitating health consequences of lupus.
- Lupus affects 1 in every 1000 Canadians
- It is not contagious and no one knows for sure what causes it
- Between the ages of 15-45, women are eight times more likely than men to get lupus. Before or after that age range, it affects both genders equally.
The symptoms & cure
Some people will have only a few of the many possible symptoms. Because it can target any of the body’s tissues, lupus is often hard to pin down or diagnose. That’s why it is called “the disease with 1000 faces”.
While there is no cure yet, with treatment most people with lupus can look forward to a normal life expectancy.