Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Lupus Lady

I have a friend who after being misdiagnosed with a stomach ulcer, skin allergies, sun poisoning, and countless other issues, was finally diagnosed with Systemic Lupus. She not only is faced with living with Lupus daily, but is doing so with a support group that is learning about the disease along side of her. Her friends and family are reading literature that she provides and being directed to websites to learn more about it while she is living it first hand. Because of this, she is asking everyone to educate yourself and help to educate those around you. Then if the time should ever come, you can provide the support that is needed and there is one more individual who doesn't feel so alone. Support and education have the power to heal.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that effects mostly skin, joints, blood, kidneys, brain, and lungs. With lupus, the body's antibodies become confused and not only attack the bad stuff, but also the good stuff like cells and tissues. Pain, discomfort, lesions, and damage to the body are symptoms and issues that are Lupus related. Luckily, for most people the effects of the disease are mild. However, for some it can become life threatening. If it isn't properly maintained it is quite painful.

Lupus affects most often women, and becomes prevalent during the childbearing years. This isn't to say that men aren't afflicted with Lupus. However, the likelihood for men is far less compared to females.

There is no known cure for Lupus at this time. However, daily they are learning more and more about the disease that affects over 1.5 million Americans a year. They have found that preventative measures can reduce the frequency of flareups and discomforts tremendously. There are also maintance drugs available to those that suffer from Lupus.

Just because Lupus is not considered for the most part to be fatal, it is however, debilitating in the sense that it affects a person's daily life, comfort, and quality of life. Skin rashes can lead to not only physical discomfort, but also image issues and mental discomfort. I've never met anyone who enjoys a fever and flu-like symptoms. The idea of your kidneys perhaps failing on you is not a pleasant thought either.

Much more research needs to be done to help find a cure for Lupus. Educating yourself and those around you is the first step. Finding the funding is the second. If you are interested in learning more about Lupus visit The Lupus Foundation of America. Unfortunately, there is not a local chapter set up in the state of West Virginia. However, my friend is currently working on starting a local chapter that is in direct affiliation with the National Foundations. She also has a facebook group that is dedicated to Lupus Education and helping to find a cure. Please check it out. Educate yourself. Educate others. Help find a cure.

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