Ladies, I really think that you’ll be SHOCKED when we tell you that, according to the Lupus Foundation of America, about 1.5 million Americans have lupus and 9 out of 10 are women. Both patients and specialists agree that this autoimmune disease is “unpredictable”. It’s a disability that you cannot describe because the whole thing about lupus is it’s so unpredictable. According to the experts, this condition may affect anyone, regardless of their age, race, or ethnic preference. And, one more thing – the severity of the symptoms varies from patient to patient and the person often experiences symptoms which could not be explained. Mallory Dixon, 29, is an attractive, petite brunette and this is her story. She was initially diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, but six years later she was diagnosed with lupus due to the many additional symptoms she experienced. Two years later, she felt so miserable and even unable to breathe that she had to go the hospital and seek medical attention.
“The night before, I was afraid to go to sleep. I tried to downplay the pain, but I had the feeling I was dying.”
UNFORTUNATELY, she “technically’ did die arriving at the hospital. And then, the doctors brought her back to life and she remained attached to bed for 86 days. During this period, she fell into a coma, received chemotherapy, spent time on a ventilator, and was even treated with dialysis. It was later found that these symptoms were caused by the lupus which has spread to her kidneys.
“They do think with early prevention we can keep lupus from spreading to organs like the kidneys or in some cases, a patient’s heart or brain.”
And ladies, this is the main reason why she believes her most important mission is to “educate young women about what to look for.”
Lupus and The Effect It Can Have on Your Life
Most common symptoms:
- Abnormal blood clotting
- Fingers turning white and/or blue when cold
- Mouth or nose ulcers
- A butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and nose (in earlier times this common rash reminded physicians of a wolf’s bite hence the name “lupus,” Latin for “wolf”)
- Extreme tiredness
- Painful or swollen joints
- Swelling in the feet, legs, hands, and/or around eyes
- Pain in chest when breathing deeply
- Sun- or light-sensitivity
- Hair loss
The experts warn that some people look completely normal, yet they feel awful. For them, even the smallest task is impossible. The disease is often isolating, because you look so normal on the outside. The lupus symptoms often mimic those of lung, bone, heart, or muscle disease as well as rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, diabetes, blood disorders, fibromyalgia, and blood disorders. This is the reason why lupus is associated with hormonal and autoimmune disorders.
Dixon also said:
“Lupus does not run in my family. The only thing that does run in my family is psoriasis, which is another autoimmune disorder.”
This is very IMPORTANT for you to remember – due to the fact that many lupus patients are diagnosed with a second or third autoimmune disease, anyone who is diagnosed or has a family history of any of these diseases should be on watch. The most common autoimmune diseases are type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, Hashimoto`s disease, Addison`s disease, vitiligo, reactive arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, psoriasis, Graves’ disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, and scleroderma.
Most Common Causes
YES, there’s a genetic component to lupus, but carrying the gene doesn’t necessarily mean that one will develop lupus. Environment and hormones have a critical role too, especially estrogen, due to the higher prevalence among women.
It is predominately diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 44, and that’s the time when women are most fertile. Unfortunately, many women are first diagnosed while pregnant or after giving birth, when their hormones are in flux.
Most lupus patients live productive and happy lives. But still, they must observe their symptoms in order to stay healthy. Self-awareness is difficult to maintain in a busy world, meaning that one must make certain lifestyle changes.