May is Lupus Awareness Month and being as informed as we possibly can is one of the best ways to be empowered. The Lupus Foundation of America estimates there are 1.5 million women in the U.S living with the chronic inflammatory disease. Read on for some important facts you should know about Lupus.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is an inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues. Lupus is a disease that can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, the skin, the kidneys, the lungs, the heart and/or the brain. Usually, one person doesn’t have all the possible symptoms.
Signs of lupus differ from person to person. Some people have just a few signs, while others have more. Common signs of lupus usually include a red rash on the face, painful or swollen joints, unexplained fever and swollen glands. Symptoms may come and go and flares can range from mild to severe and new symptoms may appear at any time.
How Is Lupus Diagnosed?
There is no single test to diagnose lupus and it may take months or years for a doctor to diagnose lupus. Your doctor may use many tools to make a diagnosis including your medical history, a complete exam, blood tests and biopsies.
Your doctor will develop a treatment plan to fit your needs and should review the plan often to be sure it is working. Treatment usually includes prescription medications along with stress management plans. You should report new symptoms to your doctor right away so that treatment can be changed if needed.
How To Cope
Most people suffering from Lupus feel better if they manage their rest and work and take their medicine. Make sure to ask your health care team about ways to cope with fatigue and stress management. It’s common for Lupus patients to suffer from depression and medicine and counseling can help.