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National lupus erythematosus awareness month is that time of the year to be aware of how lupus affects individuals and what can be done to increase awareness and offer help and support. In this article, we take a brief look at lupus erythematosus itself and talk about certain strategies and methods on how you can support individuals suffering from this condition directly and indirectly.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition which has been described as an ‘autoimmune’ one. An autoimmune condition is one where proteins are produced in the body which are directed against the body’s own cells. Currently, there are over 1.5 million Americans suffering from this condition. It tends to be more common in women and is characterised by symptoms such as fatigue, memory problems, joint pains and skin rash.
However, the effects of lupus erythematosus do not end there. If left untreated, it can result in kidney disease and heart problems and patients may be at a higher risk of developing a stroke. Joint pains can be rather debilitating and can have a significant impact on the patient’s quality of life. Patients who were once independent may find that their independence is lost primarily due to the different symptoms they are experiencing.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of lupus erythematosus are rather vague and can coincide with other clinical conditions. Making a clear diagnosis can be a difficult task but requires special blood tests that can confirm the diagnosis. However, by the time the diagnosis is made, patients may have experienced great deal of the symptoms and may already be well into the stages when complications are present.
Currently, there is a great deal of research that is being conducted to determine the best treatments and possible cures for this condition. While a discussion regarding the different treatment options is out of the scope of this article, it is worthwhile knowing that steroids along with other specialist drugs are the mainstay of treatment. Patients may require additional input from physical therapists and occupational therapists as well.
If you are family member, friend or a patient or even someone who is concerned about individuals suffering from lupus erythematosus, then there are plenty of ways to increase awareness. Simply wearing the Lupus awareness ribbon can express the support you have towards helping people suffering from this condition.
In patients who are suffering from lupus, it is important that they have some form of help ready in the event of an emergency. Given the unpredictability of life in general, wearing a medical bracelet or a lupus bracelet is of utmost importance as it can carry important information regarding the patient’s clinical condition and drug therapy in case they fall sick or require medical assistance. They are invaluable and inexpensive and are a great way to ensure that the patients are safe at all times.
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