It is National Lupus Awareness month. Lupus awareness month aims to increase understanding amongst the general public – not just medical professionals – of what this disease can do and why it’s so key to know the facts.
Many of us are unaware of what Lupus is. There are two different types of lupus, including discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) and systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE). People who are affected by DLE usually experience skin sensitivities; particularly when the skin is exposed to sun. Lesions can develop on the skin, leaving behind scars after they heal. SLE is the more serious form of lupus, as it not only affects the skin, but it also affects internal organs, and can cause inflammation and damage to the tissues and muscles that connect the joints, as well as the membranes that surround the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain.
The early warning signs of Lupus are:
Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose or rashes elsewhere on the body
Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure (photosensitivity)
Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud's phenomenon)
Shortness of breath
Headaches, confusion and memory loss
To confirm if a patient has lupus, the doctor will perform a blood test.
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