THE DISEASE OF A THOUSAND FACES
This autoimmune disease is often described as an enigma by the healthcare community and those who live with it. Lupus has coined this assessment because of its unpredictable and often misunderstood patterns.
Due to the erratic nature of the autoimmune disease, it presents various obstacles such as; difficulty to diagnose, a tough quality of life, and a challenge to treat. Lupus has a large scope of symptoms and it strikes without warning.
Lupus affects different individuals in diverse ways. It can be mild for some and life-threatening for others. Right now there is no cure for lupus. However, with the support of your doctors and loved ones, management can assist in a better quality of life. Learning about lupus as much as you can is key.
The History of Lupus
Lupus is not a new ailment, in fact, it dates back to the 12th century. The term lupus was created by 12th-century Italian physician Rogerius Frugard. Lupus is Latin for “wolf” due to the appearance of the rash being similar to a wolf’s bite.
Research and documentation of the disease continued and led to a discovery in 1872 that led the term lupus to now be categorized as a chronic disease. This was due to lupus symptoms having the ability to last many years, go “dormant” for years, and then re-appear with the same pattern. Lupus is known to cause what is called a “butterfly rash” across the bridge of the nose and spill upon the cheek.
The work of Hungarian physician and dermatologist Moritz Kaposi led to the term systemic lupus erythematosus. ‘Kaposi was one of the first people to recognize the remitting and relapsing nature of the disease and the relationship between the skin and systemic manifestations during disease activity.’
We have learned history about the discovery of lupus. Now let us review modern-day facts about lupus for an easier understanding of the enigma known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can cause pain and inflammation in any part of the body. When the immune system functions normally, inflammation is caused to a fight with an infection or an injury. However, those affected with lupus have their immune systems turn against their body as it attacks healthy tissue throughout the body.
Lupus commonly affects:
- Internal organs such as kidneys and heart
Since lupus affects so many parts of the body, it has a variety of symptoms.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can develop lupus. However, certain groups are of high risk, including:
- Women ages 15-44
- Certain ethnic groups such as African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, or Pacific Islander.
- People with family members who have a history of lupus or other autoimmune diseases.
(9 out of 10 people with lupus are women).
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