WASHINGTON (WDVM) — May marks Lupus Awareness Month, a time to help make lupus visible so that we can be one step closer to finding a cure for this disease.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease where your immune system is overactive and attacks your own body. Lupus also affects more women than men according to the CDC and it’s two to three times more likely to affect women of color. But with an early diagnosis and immunosuppressant drugs, patients can live a healthy life.
Rheumatologist, Dr. Donald Thomas says, “it’s really important to pick up and diagnose because when we catch it early and diagnose it early, most of our patients we can get their disease under control and even into remission.”
Sydney Evans is a lupus warrior who was diagnosed in 2017 after being sick for several years. Some symptoms to look out for are joint pain, fatigue, sun sensitivity, and rashes. People with lupus often experience “flare ups” meaning your symptoms worsen.
Evan’s says, “a lot of times I feel like I’ve gotten this thing under control, and then I wake up and I’m like, oh, I was wrong. It’s so unpredictable and I think that’s what we say all the time, right. It’s this cruel mystery we never know how we’re gonna feel.”
Throughout the last year the Coronavirus has also presented unique struggles for people living with lupus because of their compromised immune system
Thomas says, “when you look at lupus patients as a whole, it has not been very good. There’s been a couple of studies now that have shown that they have higher death rates if they get infected by COVID-19.”
But if you are diagnosed with Lupus there are many resources such as the Lupus Foundation of America. To visit their website click here, and on May 21st it’s “Put on Purple Day” when individuals are encouraged to wear purple, and communities are encouraged to light buildings, monuments, and fountains purple to raise awareness and rally public support to fight lupus.