WHAT IS LUPUS? systemic lupus erythematosus (aka SLE) ANYsymptom, ANYorgan, ANYone
Lupus is a chronic, incurable, potentially life-threatening, auto-immune illness, whereby the immune system fails to differentiate between foreign invaders and its own cells and tissues. As a result, the immune system produces antibodies directed against itself which causes inflammation and damage to tissues and organs.
Lupus affects mostly women between the ages of 14-50; however, the illness can occur in men, newborn infants, children and the elderly. It also appears more frequently in people of African, Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern and indigenous descent.
Lupus is considered one of the major medical conditions of modern times affecting over 5 million, world-wide. More than many of the well-known illnesses combined and over 16,000 new cases are reported annually in America alone.
Lupus primarily attacks the joints, skin, lungs, kidneys, heart, blood vessels, liver and nervous system and no ‘two’ lupus patients are the same. The course of the disease is unpredictable, with periods of illness known as ‘FLARES’ and symptom-free periods as ‘REMISSION’.
Symptoms can vary from mild to life-threatening and cover the entire medical journal; examples include joint/muscle pain, fatigue, depression, strokes, allergies, convulsions, pleurisy, heart and kidney failure.
Lupus is also known as the ‘Great Imitator’ or the ‘Illness with a 1,000 Faces’ as it often mimics or is mistaken for other conditions such as Strokes (Aneurysm), Heart Attacks, Arthritis, Schizophrenia, Epilepsy, Meningitis, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Myelitis, Nephritis, Serositis, Pleurisy, Lyme's Disease and even Depression, making it one of the most dangerous and baffling illnesses around.
Unfortunately, medical knowledge with the severe form of lupus is extremely lacking, especially with central nervous system (brain & spine). Many will die without even knowing and the lucky ones will spend a life time juggling the condition, with most likely a few hospital admissions. Help us to increase public awareness by sharing this information.