Lupus is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body attacks itself.
It is a disease of flares and remissions involving issues with mainly the joints, skin and kidneys. My client, who I also went to University with, Danelle Pinnock, has been battling Lupus for 5 years and is currently experiencing a flare-up.
She called upon GW Art to do a commissioned piece for her. The small, canvassed, wall art was to depict Jesus surrounded by purple butterflies. Purple is the colour that symbolises Lupus Awareness. October is Lupus Awareness month as well.
I am happy that I fulfilled Danelle’s vision and request. She felt truly blessed by her GW Art piece and dedicated it to all Lupus warriors, stating, ‘Your restoration is found in Christ’.
Although I have helped to uplift her spirits on the UHWI ward, Danelle’s Lupus condition has developed in a way that causes various complications leaving her in a state where she needs constant care and very expensive medication. Please check the link below to view her story. She would greatly appreciate any assistance she could get, whether monetary or simply just your prayers.
In recognition of Lupus Awareness month, here are also some facts about Lupus from Cleveland Clinic, including some that you may not know:
1. Lupus affects nine times more women than men, and more women of color than white women.
Women of childbearing age (13 to 49) are far more likely to be affected.
Genetics also plays a role.
2. Lupus symptoms can differ greatly from person to person. Some symptoms are common to other conditions, which can make diagnosis difficult.
Common Lupus symptoms include:
● Constant fatigue (often misdiagnosed for iron deficiency)
● Achy joints
● A butterfly shaped rash around the cheeks and nose (Often treated by a dermatologist as a skin issue only)
● Hair loss
● Blood clots
● Sensitivity to light
● Chest pain when breathing
● Mouth sores
● Swelling in the extremities or around the eyes (Often misdiagnosed as a circulatory problem or kidney condition)
3. Lupus is a disease of flares and remissions.
Lupus flare-ups can be mild, or they can be severe. At least 75% of people with Lupus have arthritis and skin rashes. Half have kidney problems often shown with swollen feet/ankles. Lupus patients are also more vulnerable to infection than most people.
4. Diagnosis begins with a simple blood test.
An anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) blood test can be ordered upon suspicion. A negative ANA test result usually rules out Lupus.
***ANA test results will come back positive in virtually everyone with Lupus. However, some people will have a positive result even though they do not have Lupus. When the test comes back positive, other criteria have to be examined.
In those cases, the patient’s symptoms are usually compared with a list of 11 criteria for Lupus. If they meet four or more of the criteria, they are usually diagnosed with Lupus.
5. Treatment depends on the type of flare-ups experienced.
Mild swelling and joint pain may be treated with acetaminophen or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen.
Plaquenil, an anti-malarial drug that treats skin rashes, arthritis, and sometimes fatigue.
Rashes may be treated with topical steroid creams and corticosteroids, while immuno-suppressants treat serious kidney problems.
Diagnosis and treatment of Lupus keeps getting better.
Many persons with Lupus have a mild form. Proper medication can help persons with severe Lupus control their flare-ups and live productive lives.
***Stay tuned for tips on how YOGA can help persons with Lupus***
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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