What is Lupus?

To help you understand why and what a portion of our proceeds are working to help find a cure for, I wanted to break down this very uncertain disease called Lupus.

First, what is inflammation? Inflammation almost always occurs when your immune system fights an infection in your body. Second, what does “auto-immune” mean? Auto-immune means that your immune system, when it attacks any infection and fights it, it is healthy tissue instead of unhealthy tissue. 
 
With that said, lupus is a long term inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues.  Lupus makes your immune system attack a broad amount of healthy tissue available. This develops inflammation in several parts of your body. 
 
We at Inspira are working diligently to help find a cure for lupus because not only is there no known cure, there are also no “first” symptoms of lupus. While the cause remains unknown, after an immense amount of research from the Lupus Foundation of America, with doctors like Dr. Mary K. Crow and Dr. Jane Salmon who is the Co-Director of the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Research, they know some of the signs to look for are the butterfly rash, any joint pain, and if you’re ever feeling fatigue.  Doctors often express that lupus is an effect from hormones like estrogen or certain enviornmental triggers. Symptoms are most often found with enormous swelling and an immense amount of pain. 
 
I remember too vividly, the amount of times my mom would need me to rub her “knot(s)” out, and when her fingers would clinch up from driving to and from far places.  Her knees would hurt if staying in a position too long. I use to explain to my friends growing up that lupus acts as if your cells go to attack a portion of your body because it feels there is something wrong in that area, just for it to swell up and eventually deswell because there truly is nothing wrong in that part.  For my aunt, she has more of the butterfly rash effect. She has to stay out of the sun, and her joints tend to hurt most often too. 
 


Lupus affects every individual differently and causes a broad amount of symptoms for each. One of the most common effects for humans is Lupus in their skin.  It also affects their joints, their internal organs, and even their kidneys and heart. I believe that if my mom did not have lupus, her body and organs would have been strong enough in the end to not pass away.
 
A couple facts about lupus to help you understand it a bit more is that anyone can develop lupus, in fact women between the ages of 15 and 44 are at higher risk.  Nine out of 10 people with lupus are women. Furthermore, those who have a family history of another autoimmune disease are at higher risk as well.  It is important for you to know that Lupus is not contagious; you can never physically give it to someone else.
 
Although you can never give it to someone, if you’re like me and have the positive gene for lupus, or have a family history of auto-immune diseases, here are a few things you can do each day to help prevent lupus from developing in your body.

  • Limit your time in direct sunlight
  • Try to avoid any medications that cause you to be more sensitive to the sun
  • Develop and be aware of stress management strategies
  • Get enough sleep every night
For more information regarding lupus and ways to prevent it, or to donate to find a cure, you can visit https://www.lupus.org/resources/what-is-lupus