Millions Of People Are Living With The Wolf. Are You?

Today is World Lupus Day. Lupus is a disease that sometimes goes wholly unnoticed, because those suffering from it don’t always show the obvious symptoms. That is why it is often referred to as the ‘invisible’ disease. The name ‘Lupus’ originates from the thirteenth century, when the physician Rogerius compared the marked erosive facial lesions – one of the symptom of Lupus – to the bite of a wolf. Today, it is believed that around 5 million people are affected by lupus. These include the singer Lady Gaga, singer and actress Selena Gomez, presenter and TV personality Nick Cannon. It’s also believed that the composer Beethoven suffered from the disease during his own lifetime.

We spoke to Dr Yair Edinburg of the Ubuntu Family Health Centre and the Aurora Medical Aesthetics Centre in Grayston, in order to better understand the conditions faced by those living with this ‘wolf’.

1. What are the most common symptoms of lupus?

Because the disease can affect any part of the body the symptoms of lupus can be varied. Everyone is different and some people may get few symptoms while others may get multiple symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • Painful joints
  • Fever
  • Arthritis
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash
  • Swollen ankles
  • Fluid retention
  • Pleurisy
  • A butterfly rash on ones face
  • Hair loss
  • Photo-sensitivity
  • Seizures
  • Mouth or nose sores
  • Bad circulation (Raynaud’s phenomenon)

2. What role do hormones play in the disease?

It’s believed that female hormones may play a role in development of lupus due to the fact that more woman get affected than men. This is especially true of women in their productive years, a time when hormones are highest.

3. What does the treatment for lupus generally entail?

Treatment of lupus is based on severity and extent of the disease and as well as what parts of the body are affected. If symptoms are mild no treatment may be needed. Medical treatment may include multiple therapies from high dose steroids, chemotherapy to immune-suppressive drugs. The prognosis for those with lupus depends on severity of the disease and organs which have been affected. The disease is characterized by periods of remission and symptoms. Most people will live a normal lifespan especially if they follow their treatment. Click on this link for the E-Report on Lupus Knows No Boundaries.

4. How is lupus generally diagnosed, and why is it commonly mistaken for a different disease?

Lupus is generally diagnosed based on physical symptoms, examination by a health care professional as well as certain blood tests. There are criteria that must be met in order for the diagnosis to be made.

The diagnosis is difficult, because symptoms are so varied and take a high index of suspicion from your doctor to run the appropriate tests.

5. Who is more at risk of contracting lupus?

Lupus can occur in both men and women; however women make up about 90% of those who are diagnosed with Lupus. Women in their childbearing years are most affected. African and Asian people are affected more than white people, and as many as 1 in 250 people may be affected.

Want to find out more?

Samantha has lived with lupus for the last 12 years, and she opened up to us about this disease. Read her testimonial on Lupus by clicking on the following link.

Find out more about World Lupus Day here