Today is World Lupus Day and Arthritis Research UK wants to raise awareness of the condition. Would you be able to recognise if someone you love has the condition? Do you even know what it is?
The autoimmune disease affects approximately 50,000 people in the UK, 90 per cent of whom are women and it's more Common in younger women.
Lady GaGa is reported to have tested borderline for the condition, and other celebrity sufferers include Seal, Terri Seymour and Toni Braxton.
Lupus occurs when your immune system attacks your body’s own tissues. It can cause inflammation in many different parts of your body, though most people will only have a few of the possible symptoms. Because its symptoms are so varied and it mimics the symptoms of other conditions such as rheumatoid Arthritis, lupus is notoriously difficult to diagnose promptly.
The symptoms can vary from person to person depending on which parts of the body are afferted.
Symptoms can include:
- joint pain
- a skin rash
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- weight loss
- mouth ulcers
- hair loss
- swelling of lymph glands
- your fingers or toes changing colour in cold conditions
Lupus can have more serious complications if the inflammation affects your internal organs such as your heart, brain or kidneys, so you’ll need regular check-ups with your doctor for early signs of these complications.
The disease can be treated with a combination of drugs, which will vary on your particular symptoms.
Drugs may include:
- anti-inflammatory drugs
- steroid tablets, creams or injections
- drugs which suppress the overactive immmune system
- drugs to control high blood pressure and high cholesterol
If you suffer from it though, there are certain things you can do to help yourself:
- not smoking
- protecting your skin from strong sunlight
- dressing to keep your hands and feet warm in cold weather
- resting when your disease is most active but otherwise taking regular exercise
- pacing yourself and planning your activities
Femalefirst Taryn Davies