The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that 1.5 million Americans, and at least five million people worldwide, have a form of lupus. According to the Lupus Foundation of America most lupus sufferers are misdiagnosed or can go undiagnosed for years. The goal of Lupus Awareness Month is to inform practitioners, patients, care givers, and the general public about how best to diagnose, care for, and live with lupus.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic (long-term) disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of your body. Lupus is a non-contagious autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system — the body system that usually fights infections — attacks healthy tissue instead. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 9 out of 10 diagnoses of lupus are in women ages 15 to 44 and most people with lupus develop the disease between the ages of 15-44.
What are the symptoms of Lupus?
Because lupus affects many parts of the body, it can cause a lot of different symptoms and be hard to diagnose. Some of the common symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of lupus include:
- Chronic fatigue, anxiety, and depression
- Stiff or swollen joints
- A “butterfly” shaped rash across the face
- Chest pain
- Severe weight loss or weight gain
- Shortness of breath
- Dry eyes
- Headaches, confusion, and memory loss
- Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure (photosensitivity)
- Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
What treatment is available for people with Lupus?
Treatment for lupus depends on your signs and symptoms. Determining whether your signs and symptoms should be treated and what medications to use requires a careful discussion of the benefits and risks with your doctor. The medications most commonly used to control lupus include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Antimalarial drugs
- Rituximab (Rituxan)
Lupus is more pervasive and severe than many people realize since many of its symptoms can be invisible.
If you or someone you know is suffering from lupus, or any other illness, and you are being denied benefits by your insurer, please call Kantor & Kantor for a free consultation at 888-569-6013 or use our online contact form. We understand, and we can help.