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Lupus Awareness Month

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Frequently asked questions about Lupus

Lupus UK news

It’s October, the month of Halloween, half-term and Lupus. Yes, every year, Lupus UK aims to raise awareness of the disease with Lupus Awareness Month which runs through October. But what exactly is Lupus?

Here are some frequently asked questions about this little known debilitating disease:

What is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic condition in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. It is more common in people of African and Asian descent. The medical name for the disease is Systemic lupus erythematosus gold (SLE).

The word Lupus is derived from the Latin name of a child who is thought to be a medieval physician. It is notoriously difficult to diagnose Lupus – the average time in the UK for an official diagnosis is 6 years!

This condition is primarily related to the condition, such as arthritis. Early diagnosis can result in more effective treatment of the medical profession.

What are the main symptoms of Lupus?

The symptoms of Lupus range from mild to severe and can ebb and flow. Mild symptoms include fatigue, joint pain, and skin problems. More serious symptoms include inflammation of other areas of the body, including the internal organs such as the heart and lungs.

At Lupus inflammation can seriously affect the brain, heart and lungs and can even be fatal.

How is Lupus treated?

There is no cure for lupus, but it is possible to manage the symptoms when they flare up. Commonly used medications include:

Anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen;
– Steroid injections, creams and tablets;
– Hydroxychloroquine, which is used to manage joint and skin problems and tiredness.

Relatively new treatments in the UK are used to treat more serious instances of Lupus. They are belimumab and rituximab and work by helping to lower the number of antibodies in the patient’s blood.

What can you do to manage Lupus?

People with Lupus should:

– Protect your skin and use a high-fat factor of 50 plus;
– Avoid fatigue by making sure to get plenty of rest;
– Eat a healthy and varied diet; Ask your doctor or nurse if you need to eat special foods or limit other foods because of your lupus.
– Research relaxation technique such as mindfulness and yoga.
– Exercise gently during a flare-up. Exercise such as swimming can be very beneficial.

What should you avoid if you have Lupus?

– Avoid Smoking can seriously exacerbate Lupus;
– Avoid Sunbathing or spend much time in direct sunlight.

Sources: NHS, LupusUKOrg.

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