National Lupus Awareness Month
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May is National Lupus Awareness Month.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs). “Chronic” means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.

Lupus is an often invisible but devastating disease. Many celebrities with Lupus have spoken out about how it impacts their health and their careers such as Nick Cannon and Toni Braxton.

WHAT DIFFERENT TYPES OF LUPUS ARE THERE? FOR EXAMPLE, IT’S BEEN REPORTED THE SCARS ON SINGER SEAL’S FACE ARE ACTUALLY A SKIN FORM OF LUPUS?

1. Systemic lupus

2. Discoid lupus

3. Subacute cutaneous lupus

4. Drug induced lupus

 IS THERE A CERTAIN AGE WHEN MOST PEOPLE DEVELOP LUPUS?

Most develop the disease during childbearing years – 15 – 44, but it can also occur in children and the elderly.

WHAT CAUSES THE AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE TO DEVELOP?

First – a genetic predisposition – then in those genetically susceptible – theories – infection, virus, chemicals, hormones, stress – unknown.

WHY IS IT OFTEN DIFFICULT TO DIAGNOSE?

Because it is a systemic disease, any body system can be involved so presenting symptoms can be variable. Also, the signs and symptoms can occur over time – months to years. Most remain vigilant. There are 11 criteria’s and you must meet 4 for a diagnosis to be substantiated.

DO YOU KNOW WHY WOMEN OF COLOR ARE MORE LIKELY TO DEVELOP LUPUS THAN CAUCASIAN WOMEN?

Casual factors such as; poverty, lack of access to health care, diagnosed later when disease is more severe, genetic alteration in protective immune cells (HLA-PRB1) resulting higher disease.

WHY DOES LUPUS APPEAR TO AFFECT WOMEN MORE THAN MEN?

Several genes that increase susceptibility to lupus differ between men and women, and women must inherit smaller numbers and susceptibility genes than men to develop the illness. Also, certain genes that produce proteins that increase the risk of lupus called Toll-like receptors – are allowed to ever express in patients with 2xx chromosomes in female versus men with only 1x chromosome.

HOW DOES LUPUS AFFECT THE KIDNEYS?

The autoimmune proteins invade the filtering units of the kidney causing damage and invade the blood vessels supporting the kidney.

WHEN AND HOW IS CHEMOTHERAPY USED TO TREAT LUPUS?

Chemotherapy – destroy cells. Cells follow the autoimmune proteins that invade the kidney. If one destroys the cells, then the organ is protected.

Dr. Samuel Pegram is a rheumatologist in Houston and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, as well as the Rheumatic Disease Clinical Research Center which he founded. Dr. Pegram received his medical degree from the Ohio State University college of medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Read on for answers to your “Text Tom” questions on the next page:

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4 thoughts on “Get Well Wednesday: The Truth About Lupus

  1. Our company, i-Participate (www.i-participate.org) is recruiting for several lupus clinical trials, for SLE, CLE and Lupus Nephritis across the country. By providing cutting-edge medicines and follow-up by specialists (all for free), this is a great option for lupus warriors to find treatments that work and to help eradicate this disease. 860.556.3866

  2. Michelle Jones on said:

    I was diagnosed with lupus in 2008. It’s been a trying time,But with a great support system and faith in God you can fight and win.

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