Lupus is a serious and oftentimes debilitating autoimmune disease affecting as many as 5 million people worldwide. It can cause damage to the heart, to the kidneys, as well as to any other organ or tissue – from the skin to the joints. While lupus typically impacts more women than it does men, there are no bounds when it come to the disease, as it can affect all genders, ethnicities, and ages. Lupus can be unpredictable and have life-changing consequences, which is why it’s so crucial to learn all you can about it in order to not only prepare yourself, but as well as prepare those around you who either may either be at risk of developing lupus or already have it.
As mentioned, lupus knows no bounds. There are, however, certain risk factors that can increase your chances of developing lupus, and they are as follows:
Gender: You are more like to get lupus if you are female vs. male.
Age: Lupus typically occurs in individuals between the ages of 15 and 44.
Family History: You are 13% more likely to develop lupus if you are a relative of someone who already has (or has had) lupus.
Race/Ethnicity: Lupus is more common in African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics/Latinos.
Symptoms of Lupus
Symptoms of lupus vary from person to person. What might affect one individual may not affect another individual at all. However, some of the most common symptoms include:
• Joint pain
• Swelling and redness of the joints
• Weight gain
• Red/scaly rashes
• A rash across the cheeks and bridge of the nose
• Sores inside the mouth
• Extreme fatigue
• Unusual reaction to sunlight
• Abnormalities in blood chemistry
• Severe psychological symptoms
These symptoms can be chronic or acute. In cases where they’re chronic, they are long-lasting, while an acute phase means the symptoms will only be present for a short amount of time – also known as a flare-up.
While there’s no cure for lupus, the treatment methods chosen are done to relieve symptoms associated with the autoimmune disease, and also depends on the severity of those symptoms. Medications commonly used to relieve symptoms of lupus include anti-inflammatories (such as NSAIDs) and steroids, though it’s also important to be aware that these medications have side effects, especially when used long-term. For information about long-term use of NSAIDs, click here.