Lupus Foundation of America, Lupus Awareness Month

Lupus is a mysterious disease. Most of the time, when the word ‘Lupus’ is mentioned, people ask, “What is it?” This month we are observing Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Awareness Month.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America:
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.

In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs (“foreign invaders,” like the flu). Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders. Autoimmune means your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues (“auto” means “self”) and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body. Lupus is also a disease of flares (the symptoms worsen and you feel ill) and remissions (the symptoms improve and you feel better).

Learn about the common symptoms of lupus, how it affects the blood, how it is diagnosed and the relationship between the disease and photosensitivity, by visiting their website: http://www.lupus.org/. Find out how you can get involved with a chapter in your area.

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