Lupus Awareness Month

Posted By: Rachael Miner

May is Lupus Awareness Month.

So what is the disease and what is it like to live with it?

It’s a routine I go through every morning.

Grabbing a glass of water and swallowing a handful of pills.

These pills help keep my body functioning at an almost normal level, but my body will never be normal because i have lupus.

"The swollen joints the fatigue the rash or other features we identify are part of an inflammation that the body is driving without a good reason. It’s picking a fight itself," said rheumatologist Dr. Robert Valente.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can cause a variety of symptoms.

Common ones include extreme fatigue that does not go away, swollen and painful joints, and even the organs can be affected.

The disease is not contagious.

My liver and pancreas do not function at normal levels, fatigue is always a battle, but despite being exhausted, sleep is illusive, and I’m extremely sensitive to the sun.

Despite taking medication to keep things regulated there are still times when patients experience flares.

"A flare might be a lot more rash or it might be a marked increase in the number of swollen joints, it might be a change in the functioning of the kidney or an increase in the markers of inflammation that we measure in the blood," Dr. Valente said.

Just like symptoms of lupus, symptoms of a flare are different for everyone. With my last flare I landed in the hospital for a week with pancreatitis.

Flares can take weeks or months to get under control and often require additional medications.

How can a patient try to prevent flares? Staying active, eating healthy, and resting to avoid getting sick.

There is no cure for lupus. It’s something you learn to live with and work to overcome.

If you would like to learn more about lupus you can visit Lupus Foundation of America or click here