Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that causes inflammation anywhere in the body and can affect any of your organs, the skin, and joints. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, there are an estimated 1.5 million Americans living with this disease and 90% of the people living with lupus are women. People with lupus can experience significant symptoms, such as pain, extreme fatigue, hair loss, cognitive issues, and physical impairments that affect every facet of their lives.
Many suffer from cardiovascular disease, strokes, disfiguring rashes, and painful joints. For others, there may be no visible symptoms. The goal of Lupus Awareness Month is to inform practitioners, patients, caregivers, and the public about how best to diagnose, care for, and live with lupus.
What are the 4 different forms of lupus?
When people talk about lupus, they are usually talking about systemic lupus. But there are four different forms of lupus:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is the most common form of lupus and accounts for approximately 70% of all cases of lupus. In approximately half of these cases, a major organ or tissue in the body, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, or brain will be affected.
- Cutaneous lupus, is a form of lupus that is limited to the skin and only accounts for about 10% of all lupus cases.
- Drug-induced lupus, is a lupus-like disease caused by certain prescription drugs and only accounts for about 10% of all lupus cases. The symptoms of drug-induced lupus are similar to systemic lupus; however, symptoms usually subside when the medications are discontinued.
- Neonatal lupus, is a rare condition that affects infants of women who have lupus. At birth, the baby may have a skin rash, liver problems, or low blood cell counts, but these symptoms typically disappear completely after six months with no lasting effects.
How long does it take to get diagnosed with lupus?
There are many challenges to reaching a lupus diagnosis. Lupus is known as "the great imitator" because its symptoms mimic many other illnesses. Lupus symptoms can also be unclear, can come and go, and can change. On average, it takes nearly six years for people with lupus to be diagnosed, from the time they first notice their lupus symptoms.
What treatment is available for people with Lupus?
Although there is no cure for lupus, having the right treatment plan can help:
- Control your symptoms — like joint pain, swelling, and feeling tired;
- Keep your immune system (the part of the body that fights off bacteria and viruses) from attacking your body; and
- Protect your organs from damage.
Treating lupus can be difficult. It can take months, or even years, to find the right treatment plan. The symptoms of lupus can make it difficult for some people to work. An insurer may deny long-term disability claims if it believes the persons symptoms are not debilitating enough.
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 or use our online contact form.
We understand, and we can help.