Lupus is an inflammatory disease in which the immune system attacks its tissues and often causes painful joint pain. It impacts 1.5 million Americans and at least five million people around the world. Every May, we recognize Lupus Awareness Month as a time to generate awareness and raise critical funds for life-saving research and support services. What is this currently incurable disease, and who is at risk? Read on to learn more.
One reason why Lupus Awareness Month is so critical is that many aspects of the disease—including its spectrum of symptom severity—remain a mystery to doctors and researchers. The condition is often challenging to diagnose, painful to live with, and hard to treat. It creates a broad array of symptoms and can appear with little warning.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease. It causes pain and inflammation throughout the body in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues in the:
Lupus is a disease of cycles, which means that when it is in remission, a person may exhibit no symptoms. When the condition is active, however, patients experience a flare-up of symptoms.
While no one knows what causes the disease, researchers have found that the condition is genetic. Some experts also believe that Lupus may be triggered in response to specific hormones, particularly estrogen, or to environmental factors.
Lupus is a painful condition with symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Some of the most common symptoms of Lupus include swelling, inflammation, and damage to skin, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys, and skin.
While anyone can develop Lupus during their lifetime, the disease most commonly affects:
If you are experiencing symptoms of swelling and pain, and believe that it may be caused by Lupus, talk to your doctor. He or she will diagnose your symptoms and will help you create a treatment plan to help you manage your pain and discomfort.