Systemic lupus erythematosus, often abbreviated as SLE or lupus, is a systemic autoimmune disease (or autoimmune connective tissue disease) in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. When the immune system is functioning normally, it makes proteins called antibodies that protect against pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. Lupus is characterized by the presence of antibodies against a person's own proteins; these are most commonly anti-nuclear antibodies, which are found in nearly all cases. These antibodies lead to inflammation. Although the underlying cause of autoimmune diseases is unknown, most believe that lupus results from both genetic and environmental stimuli.
There are many kinds of lupus. The most common type is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which affects many internal organs in the body. SLE most often harms the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys, and nervous system. The course of the disease is unpredictable, with periods of illness (called flares) alternating with remissions. The disease occurs nine times more often in women than in men, especially in women in child-bearing years ages 15 to 35, and is also more common in those of non-European descent.
While there is no cure for SLE, it is treated with immunosuppression, mainly with cyclophosphamide, corticosteroids and other immunosuppressant’s. The goal of these treatments is to keep symptoms under control. SLE can be fatal. The leading cause of death is from cardiovascular disease due to accelerated atherosclerosis. Survival for people with SLE in the United States, Canada, and Europe has risen to approximately 95% at five years, 90% at 10 years, and 78% at 20 years, and now approaches that of matched controls without lupus.
Of course each case is different depending on the person. I have only had the chance to know some strong people with lupus that struggle every single day just to get out of bed. I have seen myself so sick there’s been times I want to give up, at times I don’t want to be here anymore. I’ve seen the rashes, the jaundice faces and the frail appearances. I have also unfortunately seen the extremely darker side of lupus with complications from the disease leading to death. This is a serious disease and we need to start treating it that way. Every passing moment is a chance to turn it all around. Change your life, change other's lives.....but please try to help so in the future those of us with Lupus can help ourselves and help other's.
Just by reading this made you that much more aware of what lupus is. For this, I thank all of you. Please help spread the word and let's create a Lupus Awareness Movement.