What is lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune condition, which means that it is caused by problems with the immune system (the body’s natural defence against illness and infection). In people with lupus, the immune system starts to attack healthy cells, tissue and organs.
As with other more common autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, it is thought that a combination of genetic and environmental factors are responsible for triggering the onset of lupus in certain people.
It is believed that over 50,000 people throughout the UK suffer with lupus of whom 90% are female. The symptoms are many and varied, and the condition often seems to mimic other diseases. This gives rise to difficulty in diagnosis and the condition can be overlooked for years, unless the GP or consultant is alert to the possibility of lupus.
Symptoms can include; extreme fatigue, eye problems, joint/muscle pain, depression, miscarriage, hair loss, anaemia, facial and other rashes as well as the possible involvement of kidneys, heart, lungs or brain.
There is NO CURE! The outlook for lupus varies widely as the symptoms can range from mild to severe. Many people will experience long periods of time with few or no symptoms before suddenly experiencing a sudden flare-up where their symptoms are particularly severe. However, even mild cases of lupus can have a considerable impact on a person’s quality of life because many of the symptoms, particularly chronic fatigue, can be distressing and cause feelings of depression and anxiety.
With good levels of support from friends, family and healthcare professionals, many people with lupus learn to manage their condition effectively.Tweet