So I’ve recently discovered that one of my dear friends is suffering from Lupus. But what is it? And what is it like to live with it?
There are some types of lupus that just affect the skin – such as discoid lupus erythematosus and subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus. Some medications can also cause lupus-like side effects.
However, the term “lupus” is most often used to describe a more severe form of the condition called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which can affect many parts of the body, including the skin, joints and internal organs.
Symptoms range from mild to severe, and many people will have long periods with few or no symptoms before experiencing a sudden flare-up, where their symptoms are particularly severe.
Even mild cases can be distressing and have a considerable impact on a person’s quality of life.
- fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- rashes – particularly on the face, wrists and hands
- joint pain and swelling
What causes lupus?
SLE is an autoimmune condition, which means it is caused by problems with the immune system. For reasons not yet understood, the immune system in people with SLE starts to attack and inflame healthy cells, tissue and organs.
As with other more common autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, it is thought a combination of genetic and environmental factors may be responsible for triggering SLE in certain people.
Who is affected
SLE is an uncommon condition that is estimated to affect around 15,000 people in England and Wales.
Around 90% of cases occur in women. The condition is most common in women of childbearing age (between the ages of 15 and 50), but it can also affect people of other ages.
The condition tends to be less common in people of white European origin and more common in those of African, Caribbean or Asian origin.
Ruby blogs about her and Lupus in her blog Positively Lupus.
“Living with Lupus has its difficulties on a day-to-day basis that people do not realise, this is what I would like to spread awareness about. “
“I may look healthy and seem upbeat & positive on the outside, however 9 times out of 10 I am actually in physical pain inside.”
Join her on her journey of raising awareness of Lupus and how she lives and travels with it.