The World Lupus Day proclamation began 11 years ago in 2004. The proclamation is a call to action to governments around the world to increase their financial support for lupus research, awareness and services. It is estimated that around 5 million people around the world suffer with Lupus, although most people know very little about it – unless they’re fans of the TV series, House M.D.! By raising people’s awareness, earlier diagnosis and better treatments may be possible.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. Being a chronic disease means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and can stick around for many years. “Autoimmune” diseases mean that your body cannot tell the difference between “foreign invaders” such as bacteria and viruses, and the body’s own healthy tissues, causing autoantibodies to destroy the healthy tissues.
Ever wondered why the notorious Dr. House often says, “it’s not lupus”? Well, lupus often takes years to diagnose – even with Chase and Cameron on your diagnostics team – and is known as the “great imitator”, as it can mimic or be mistaken for a variety of diseases. This because lupus is able to affect all areas of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain and blood vessels. In reality, lupus is not as rare as Dr. House seems to think.
Due to Lupus affecting a wide variety of areas in the body, the symptoms may be difficult to detect. Common things to look out for with lupus include:
Pain or swelling in joints
Fever with no known cause
Red rashes, most often on the face
Chest pain when taking a deep breath
Pale or purple fingers or toes
Sensitivity to the sun
Swelling in legs or around eyes
Uncommon symptoms include:
You can donate to Lupus UK, a charity aiming to assist people in the UK living with Lupus, here.