Beyond the Butterflies: What is Lupus?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

This month is Lupus awareness month. Although I know two people who have lupus, before looking into it I did not know much about the disease except that it is a serious autoimmune disease. Starting with that information, a normal immune system responds to foreign substances within the body (like when you got a cold) by killing them and causing no further harm to the body. In an autoimmune disease the response is not normal and it attacks and destroys healthy tissue; and those people who have Lupus experience this abnormal response that causes inflammation, pain and damage to the body. Lupus is characterized by flares and remission, in which symptoms worsen and then improve. In Lupus the body creates the antibodies that lead to the widespread inflammation as detailed here on the CDC website

Lupus is believed to be caused by a variety of factors including genetics and your interaction with the environment. Some common symptoms of Lupus include: 
  • extreme fatigue
  • headaches
  • painful/swollen joints
  • fever
  • mouth or nose ulcers
  • fingers turning white or blue when cold
  • hair loss
  • butterfly shaped rash across cheeks and nose
  • pain in chest upon deep breathing
If you have any of these symptoms do not be alarmed until you go to the doctor and get a confirmed diagnosis because these symptoms occur in other illnesses too. Also, this disease primarily occurs in women and certain ethnic groups. Whether you have Lupus or are a friend of someone with lupus, you can help others by raising awareness of the disease. In addition you can donate to one of the Lupus organizations like the Lupus Foundation of America, participate in a walk or simply spread awareness. Purple is the color for Lupus Awareness and I will be wearing it on my nails all month!

This information was from the Lupus Foundation of America and you can find more information at that link. I found the butterfly image at 


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