May is Lupus Awareness Month.  While many people have never even heard of it, it is more common than you think.  And worst of all, there is no cure.

Several years ago was the first time I heard the word lupus.  My mom was very sick and the doctors didn't know what was wrong with her.  After several misdiagnoses, she was finally told she had lupus.  We were also told that there is no cure for it, but that it was manageable.

I immediately began researching it and found that there isn't much knowledge about it.  Doctors don't know where it comes from or why people get it and there is no cure for it.

About 1.5 million people in the US suffer from some form of lupus and 90% of those individuals are women.  There are different kinds of lupus, Systemic lupus, Cutaneous lupus, and drug-induced lupus.  Women of color (Hispanic/Latino, Asian, American Indian women and African Americans) are 2-3 times more likely to get it, but it is most common among Hispanic/Latino women.  It is often inherited.

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body).  It can eventually begin to shut down vital organs like heart, lungs, kidneys or brain.  Over the years I have seen my mom battle this and it is horrible.  It affects every aspect of life.  Even the sunlight can cause a flare up.

While there is no cure, there are ways to manage it.  Everybody is different, so each treatment will be different.  But, most people suffering from this end up taking 6 or more medications per day.  :/

It usually takes several different doctors to finally diagnose it.  But here are some things to look out for:

  • Red rash or color change on the face, often in the shape of a butterfly across the nose and cheeks
  • Painful or swollen joints
  • Unexplained fever
  • Chest pain with deep breathing
  • Swollen glands
  • Extreme fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
  • Unusual hair loss (mainly on the scalp)
  • Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Low blood count
  • Depression, trouble thinking, and/or memory problems.

Many people who have lupus are often misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

The month of May is Lupus Awareness Month, so if you know somebody that suffers from this or just want to show support, try and wear purple this month.

More From KISS FM 96.9