It's Never Lupus
or this week's blog we make a rare diversion from all things industry specific, and give the proverbial mic to our Production Coordinator, who battles daily with a chronic autoimmune and inflammatory disease called Lupus. To mark World Lupus Day, she shines a light on this bizarre & debilitating disease that many endure silently.
On the television show House, doctors try to diagnose mysterious illnesses, and often when time is running out and all other options have been exhausted, one of the characters will offer a diagnosis of last resort - lupus. But in often repeated words of main character Dr House, “It’s never lupus.”
So why is it never lupus? Is it because its symptoms make it easily mistaken for other illnesses or the difficulty of making a diagnosis? Yes, and yes.
Lupus is a long-term auto immune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy tissue. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys,blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. Due to its complex nature, lupus is sometimes known as the “disease of a thousand faces.” The most likely reason for lupus being used as a joke in House is because of the difficulty in delivering a diagnosis of the disease as its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments.
The most distinctive sign of lupus — a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks — occurs in many but not all cases of lupus.
Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain drugs or even sunlight. No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly, maybe mild or severe, and may be temporary or permanent. Lupus patients often suffer unpredictable bouts of the disease, called flares, followed by periods of remission.
While there's no cure for lupus, treatments can help control symptoms and aim at preventing flares or reducing their severity and duration when they occur; helping maintain normal function and preventing serious complications. The short-term goal of treatment is to quickly control involvement of the nervous system and weighing up the risks of immuno suppressive therapy.
In the long term, the aim is to define the minimum effective treatment to keep the disease in remission so the patient can have a better quality of life.
Having lupus can make everyday life challenging. When your lupus is active, symptoms can make simple tasks difficult — and sometimes impossible. Since these symptoms aren’t visible, the people around you may have trouble understanding how you feel. It’s important not to ignore the limitations that come with this disease and to be kind to yourself.
Written by Sarah Pearce - Production Coordinator
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