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Lupus UK

What is Lupus?
Lupus sufferers are predominantly women of child bearing age. 90% of the 30,000 UK patients are female. It has a number of nicknames due to its symptoms and causes: The butterfly (pattern of the rash sufferers can get); Vampire Disease (sufferers usually need to avoid sunlight); and of course Werewolf (lupus = Latin for wolf).

What are the symptoms?
Lupus can often mimic the symptoms of other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis making it hard to diagnose.
Symptoms include extreme tiredness, joint and muscle pain, eye problems, depression, mouth ulcers, facial or other rashes (the "butterfly" rash), miscarriage, hair loss, anaemia and fever.
The only good news is that it is not contagious!

What causes it?
Unknown, but certain things appear to trigger the onset or flare up of the disease:
Viral infections; a long course of medication; puberty; childbirth; the menopause; and sunlight (giving rise to the 'vampire' disease)

How is it diagnosed?
There is no single test that can diagnose it. If you suspect you may have it then your doctor will need to run a series of tests including blood and urine, and observe you over a period of time. People diagnosed with lupus normally remain under medical care with continuing medication.

What is the treatment?
There is no cure.
People who are diagnosed with lupus are kept under constant medical supervision. Care must be taken to prevent damage to organs like the kidneys.
A specialist will prescribe medication such as steroids to suppress and stabilise the disease (downside to this is weight gain or a bloated look).
Anti-inflammatory drugs are used for patients who suffer mainly from joint and muscle pain. Immuno-suppressants such as azathioprine are used in more severe cases.

Bottom Line:
This is a shitty disease to have, and anybody suffering from it deserves our sympathy and respect. There is no cure; it causes you constant pain depression and tiredness; the drugs make you appear fat and bloated; the disease can attack virtually any of the organs in your body; and you can't even sit in the sun to cheer yourself up!