World Lupus Day
Lupus is a serious life-altering, autoimmune disease that occurs when the body system attacks its own tissues and organs.
World Lupus Day was created by Lupus Canada in 2004 to raise awareness of this little-known disease that can be life threatening. May month is Lupus Awareness Month and 10th of May is dedicated as World Lupus Day.
World Lupus Day is an important opportunity to raise awareness of the physical, emotional and economic impact of lupus.
Lupus can affect various body organs including the skin, kidneys, brain, blood cells, lungs, heart and the joints.
Cause of Lupus unknown
SLE can affect people of all ages, including children. However, women of childbearing ages – 15 to 44 years – are at greatest risk of developing SLE.
- Women of all ages are affected far more than men
- The cause of lupus is unknown, but are believed to be linked to environmental, genetic, and hormonal factors.
- Diagnosing lupus is often difficult as its symptoms mimic those of other common ailments.
Common symptoms are :
- Facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly.
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent chest pain
- Joint pain, swelling and stiffness
- Fever and fatigue
- Fingers and toes turns blue when exposed to cold
- Headaches, confusion and some memory loss
No one test can diagnose lupus. The combination of blood and urine tests, signs and symptoms, and physical examination findings leads to the diagnosis.
Usually Antinuclear antibody (ANA) test is positive in lupus and might require more-specific antibody testing.
People with lupus that get proper medical care, preventive care, and education can significantly improve function and quality of life.
The medications most commonly used to control lupus include NSAIDs, Hydroxychloroquine, Corticosteroids, Immunosuppressants, etc.
There are certain preventive measures that one can take to mitigate the flare-up and severity of symptoms:
Reduce Environmental Exposure
People who suffer from lupus should avoid exposureThere are certain environmental triggers that can up your risk of developing lupus such as UV rays exposure, smoking, and exposure to silica dust in the workplace like those found in cleaning powders, soil, pottery materials and cement. To lessen the triggers follow these steps:
Shield Your Skin
It is advised to limit your exposure to the sun and UV rays. Always stand in shaded areas when outdoors, wear sun-guarding clothing like a long-shelved shirt, sunglasses and hats, and always apply sunscreen with a greater sun protection factor (SPF) of 55 while going out. Replace all fluorescent, compact fluorescent and halogen bulbs at home or workplace with LED or incandescent bulbs.
Smoking cigarettes can greatly trigger lupus flare-ups. Try to quit smoking or get help from your physician about ways to lessen tobacco intake. Also stay away from people who smoke, as second-hand smoke can trigger a flare-up.
Avoid Exposure To Toxins
Choose household essentials that do not contain silica dust. Stay in a well-ventilated region and environment that is pollution free.
Nutrition and dietary choices play a major role in the development of lupus. Medical experts suggest that having foods like fatty fish, olive oil and boiled vegetables can immensely lessen and soothe the symptoms of this inflammatory condition. Also, drinking coffee has been shown to decrease disease action in lupus and even lower cytokine levels (proteins in the immune system that are vital for cell signalling.
Though there’s no fixed diet regimen, however, it is crucial to maintai a well-balanced diet comprising fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
A bad emotional condition or emotional stress can flare up the onset of several chronic conditions, including lupus. Take breaks in between a hectic day to avert physical exhaustion, practice deep breathing exercises, maintain a journal, practice yoga or meditation and pamper yourself with spa or listen to soothing playlists of your choice.
The theme for this year’s World Lupus Day (purple day) is “Make Lupus Visible” which intends to raise public awareness about lupus diagnosis and its social, economic and psychological impacts. This health campaign is also urging the WHO to consider lupus as one of the international health priorities.
Remember to see your Rheumatologist regularly, avoid sun exposure, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
Dr. Karthik Badarayan
Department of Rheumatology