According to WebMD, more than 1.5 million Americans suffer from a chronic disease, as well as an estimated 5 million worldwide. This disease affects women more than men and minorities more than Caucasians. Surprisingly, not much is heard about this disease compared to other chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDs, cancer and diabetes. The disease is called Lupus, or also known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder where sufferer’s immune system is overactive, unlike HIV or AIDS where the immune system is underactive. An autoimmune disease is where the body cannot distinguish between foreign “invading” illnesses, like the flu, and the body’s normal “healthy tissues”. This means lupus sufferers have to deal with his/her body attacking itself. The nature of the disease is not only chronic, life long, but cyclical, bad days and good days, as well.
Lupus affects every individual differently. Some might not suffer from attacks on their organs, while yet others’ organs are damaged due to this disease. Bad days can include swelling (arthritis), joint pain, mouth sores, rashes, seizures, hair loss and malfunction of major systems including but not limited to the heart, kidneys, blood cells, and so much more. Diagnosis of this disease must be done by a doctor.
“Lupus Health Center.” WebMD. 05/07/2010. Healthwise, Web. 9/20/2011.