May 10 is observed as World Lupus Day every year to raise awareness about the impact of lupus disease. Lupus is an incurable chronic disease which affects the immune system of a person. The World Lupus Day is sponsored by the World Lupus Federation (WLF). It was observed for the first time in the year 2004. Since then, the day has become an annual observance. Organizations worldwide join hands together to organize various events and activities to educate people about the lesser understood disease of lupus. “Help us solve the cruel mystery” is a common phrase associated with this disease.
Color of the World Lupus Day is Purple. Therefore, people often wear purple ribbons, clothes or bands to show their support to the lupus patients.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic auto-immune disease. The immune system of a person suffering from lupus becomes hyperactive and it starts attacking even those tissues which are perfectly healthy. The disease is very complex and its exact cause is still not clear yet.
Symptoms of Lupus
Symptoms of lupus vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Extreme fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
- Low fevers
- Sensitivity to sunlight or fluorescent lights
- Inflammation, swelling, and damage to any part of the body including:
- Butterfly shaped rashes on cheeks and nose
- Pain in chest when breathing deeply
- Hair Loss
Lupus symptoms may change over time. Sometimes, they appears and then disappears too.
Cure and Treatment of Lupus
Lupus has no cure and thus the focus is mainly on management of this chronic disease. Medication and treatment provided to a lupus patient varies from person to person depending upon his or her symptoms. One of the major risks associated with this disease is organ damage and to prevent it, doctors opt to suppress the overactive immune system and ultimately induce remission. However, lupus often damages organs irreversibly. In those circumstances patients opt for transplants.
Lupus as a Global Health Problem
Lupus has devastating effects on its sufferers. As per the statistics, over 5 million people are affected by lupus worldwide. Despite such huge number of sufferers, the general public has little or no knowledge about the disease. There exists a huge vacuum when it comes to better research on lupus, improved healthcare services, earlier diagnosis and treatment, and better global epidemiological data related to the disease.
With the observance of World Lupus Day, more and more organizations and governments are showing support worldwide. The World Lupus Federation has taken a lead in advocating for improvement in quality of life of people affected by lupus. We hope that these efforts yield some fruitful results and people with lupus get to live an improved life. For more information on lupus, please visit worldlupusfederation.org
Celebrities with Lupus
Some of the celebrities who have been affected by lupus are:
- Lady Gaga (American Singer and Songwriter)
- Selena Gomez (American Actress and Pop singer)
- Seal (British Singer and Songwriter)
- Nick Cannon (American Actor, comedian and rapper)
- Toni Braxton (American Singer and Songwriter)
- Kristen Johnston (American Actress)
They have all been raising awareness about lupus in some form or the other. While we wish them all a healthy life, there is something worth learning from these celebrities. Despite the disease, nothing came between them and their respective successes. They all continue to shine through their accomplishments and probably that is what makes them extraordinary!