Lupus Awareness Month Facts

Lupus Awareness Month is observed during May to increase public understanding of this cruel and mysterious disease that ravages different part of the body. Spread the word and share these facts on your Facebook and Twitter. 

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Here’s today’s important fact about lupus.

May 1. Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body.

May 2. In lupus, something goes wrong with the immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs. The result is the production of autoantibodies that cause inflammation.

May 3. Ninety percent of the people who develop lupus are women. Men also can develop lupus and their disease can affect some organs more severely.

May 4. Most often, lupus develops between ages 15 and 44.  However, between 10 and 20 percent of cases develop during childhood and these cases can evolve into serious health complications more rapidly.

May 5. African Americans, Hispanics/Latinas, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans are diagnosed with lupus two or three times more frequently than Caucasians; however, lupus affects people of all races and ethnicities.

May 6. Factors that may trigger a lupus flare include infections, ultraviolet light, stress and some medications.

May 7. Lupus can affect any organ system of the body, including the heart, kidneys, lungs, blood, joints, and skin.

May 8. Lupus is not contagious and cannot be “given” to another person.

May 9. First degree relatives of people with lupus (parent, sibling or child) have six times the risk of developing the disease.

May 10. Many symptoms of lupus imitate those of other illnesses, and can come and go over time, making diagnosis difficult.  Consequently, it may take three to five years or more to diagnose lupus.

May 11. Successful treatment of lupus often requires a combination of medications. 

May 12. Treatment for lupus can be expensive.  Average annual direct medical costs exceeds $20,000, with the average increasing to $63,000 if the kidneys are involved.

May 13. More than 90 percent of people with lupus will experience joint and/or muscle pain that can be disabling. 

May 14. About half of all people with lupus will experience a serious infection during the course of their disease.

May 15. People with lupus usually are encouraged to engage in appropriate daily exercise to maintain muscle and bone strength, but they also need to balance exercise with rest.

May 16. People with lupus should eat a balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and moderate amounts of fish and lean meats. They also should quit smoking as  tobacco products can trigger flares.

May 17. In a study of more than 200 children and adolescents with lupus, 18% of participants did not have all of the recommended vaccinations.

May 18. Women with lupus are at increased risk for loss of bone mass (osteoporosis) and are nearly five times more likely to experience a fracture.

May 19. As many as 80 percent of people with lupus experience fatigue.  For some, fatigue can be debilitating to the point of forcing them to stop working.

May 20. The malar, or “butterfly” rash on the face is present in about one-third of people with lupus. This flat, reddish rash across the bridge of the nose and cheeks often is the only visible symptom of lupus.

May 21. About 10 percent of people who were originally diagnosed with discoid lupus (a form of cutaneous lupus, affecting only the skin) will go on to develop lupus that can then affect any other organ in the body.

May 22. As many as 40 percent of all people with lupus, and as many as two-thirds of all children with lupus, will develop kidney complications.

May 23. Advancing technology and a better understanding of the lupus have improved pregnancy outcomes. Today, 80 percent of women with inactive lupus can have successful pregnancies. 

May 24. Today people with lupus are leading healthier lives and living longer than at any time in history, thanks to researchers who continue to discover more about the underlying science of the immune system.

May 25. With current methods of therapy, 80 to 90 percent of people with non-organ threatening lupus can look forward to having the same lifespan as people without lupus.

May 26. In a study of pediatric lupus and people with mixed connective tissue disease, 20 percent of participants had symptoms of depression.

May 27. Lupus frequently impacts a person’s ability to keep working, with one study finding that 40 percent had to stop working on average about 3.4 years after they were diagnosed. 

May 28. As many as 60 percent of people with lupus will experience some type of memory problem, such as recalling names, dates and appointments or balancing a checkbook.

May 29. People with lupus have two times the risk of developing cardiovascular disease than do people without lupus.

May 30. While overall mortality rates for lupus have decreased over the past thirty years, the rate of deaths due to lupus-related cardiovascular complications has stayed about the same.

May 31. Positive interactions between people with lupus and their doctor helps to improve satisfaction with treatment and increase feelings of hope and well-being.