What is lupus?
In lupus, something goes wrong with the immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs (“foreign invaders,” like the flu). Normally our immune systems produce proteins called “antibodies” which protect the body from these invaders.
I remember getting my diagnosis of lupus. My first thought was, “Now, I have an answer.” My second thought was, “Okay, I have another autoimmune.”
I have never been one to get “freaked out” over a diagnosis. That is probably because I grew up being sick all the time. I had so many allergies, ear infections and throat infections, that I had become used to always having an illness and taking medication.
For me, the worst flares are the skin sores. My skin sores range from the size of a dime to the size of a silver dollar. I have had them last a couple of weeks to a couple of months. Fatigue is the second worst flare. The third worst flare for me is Raynaud’s. The pain and discoloration can be alarming when this flares.
All of you who have Lupus take care of yourself. Get the rest you need. Be good to yourself. I have learned to rely on the Lord and he will give me the strength I need for my journey on this path living with Lupus. (Philippians 4:13)
Facts about Lupus
- 1.5 million Americans have Lupus
- At least five million people suffer from Lupus globally
- 90% of Lupus patients are women
- 10-15% of Lupus patients die prematurely due to Lupus complications
- No two cases of Lupus are alike
- Lupus is 2 to 3 times more prevalent among people of color
Symptoms of Lupus
- Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
- Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose or rashes elsewhere on the body
- Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure (photosensitivity)
- Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Dry eyes
- Headaches, confusion and memory loss
- Lupus Foundation of America