POP--Put On Purple for World Lupus Day Friday, May 10, 2019! I know we tend to think about the beloved entertainer Prince when we see or hear the word purple but it's the signature color for lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks itself. It's origin is unknown which is why constant research and clinical trials are so important to find a cure.
The immune system was created to fight off germs that would cause inflammation and infections. In a person who has lupus, it does the opposite. The immune system gets confused, attacking itself, causing damage or potential damage to internal and external organ systems. There are various kinds of lupus and the symptoms differ with each person.
I have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, meaning when I have a lupus flare, everything internal and external can fail in my body. I've had several hospitalizations that required blood and plasma transfusions, morphine pain management (my joints and muscles caused excruciating pain). I was diagnosed with several things from 1999 to 2004 because each symptom masked something else. Lupus is also called "The Great Mimicker" because of this.
Thankfully, because of clinical trials and research, a person does not have to go through lengths to find out if they have lupus or not. A simple blood test can determine it because specialists can now detect a lupus antibody. Most lupus symptoms are:
- Joint and muscle pain
- Chronic lethargy
- Hair loss for no reason
Those are just a few examples but don't write them in stone because like I mentioned, each person is different. My experience was that I suffered a stroke on a hot summer afternoon and couldn't speak afterward. Oxygen left my brain and when I went to the ER I needed blood, and lots of it to regain my speech and other faculties. I remember hearing doctors speaking in their jargon but I couldn't respond. I sort of know what a person in a coma must feel like. They hear you but can't respond. Family members want to pull the plug but inside they're crying no. I expressed this to my family that if this happens again, give me a few days before deciding such a thing on me!
Lupus is more prevalent now, especially among minority women of child bearing age. Men and children have it as well and there are cases where it's drug induced. To learn more about lupus, contact the Lupus Society of Illinois. Don't forget to POP for someone you love who has lupus!
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Filed under: Lupus