The month of May is observed as Lupus Awareness Month to increase awareness amongst the general public regarding this disease and its consequences to those affected by it. Lupus is an inflammatory/autoimmune disease where the immune system of the body attacks its own tissues and organs. The inflammation may affect various organs such as the skin, kidneys, brain, blood cells, heart, lungs and joints. Lupus is a life-altering and fatal disease, not one to be overlooked. It requires in-depth understanding and support for people affected by it.
Although lupus is an incurable disease, it is possible to manage and live with it with the help of the existing treatments. It can often be difficult to diagnose lupus as the symptoms mimic those of common ailments. This means it can often go undetected for years. Symptoms may include fever, tiredness, shortness of breath, increased mouth ulcers, headaches, confusion, memory loss, and swelling and stiffness in joints. However a common symptom of lupus is a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly. The rash runs from the bridge of the nose, under the eyes, and across the cheeks.
Various types of blood testing can help in diagnosing lupus. Lupus Foundation of America estimates that 1.5 million Americans and 5 million people worldwide live with a form of lupus. Ninety percent of people living with lupus are women, which means 9 out of 10 adults with lupus are women. The disease develops between the ages of 15–44 in most people. Education and research are essential in finding a cure for lupus.