It is Lupus Awareness Month – Put On Some Purple!
It is May once again, and that means that it is Lupus Awareness Month! If you remember from last year, we asked you to get in the loop for lupus awareness, and this year we are asking you to wear some purple! May 17th is the official Put on Purple Day where thousands will be wearing whatever purple they have to help raise awareness for those living with this chronic autoimmune disease. If you missed out last year, then this would be the perfect time to get involved and show your support!
How is Lupus Diagnosed?
When a doctor is looking to diagnose lupus in a patient, they will need to assess the present symptoms first. They will look for signs of inflammation which can include heat, pain, swelling, redness, and even some loss of function in a certain part of the body. However, the inflammation that is caused by lupus can also occur on the inside of the body, affecting some of the vital organs like the kidneys or the heart.
As you can imagine, this makes the task of accurately diagnosing lupus quite challenging. In fact, this autoimmune disease is often referred to as the “great imitator”, due to the fact that lupus symptoms can easily imitate a host of other illnesses. Thus, a doctor’s diagnosis is based on the symptoms present, blood tests (these can show if any of the vital organs have been damaged), and a score of other lab tests.
What Causes Lupus?
Unfortunately, there is still some mystery surrounding what exactly causes the onset of lupus. Ongoing lupus clinical trials seek to shine more light on these questions, but there are certain things that we understand. There are genetic risk factors which increase the likelihood that a person may develop this autoimmune disease some day. Studies have shown that this illness seems to run in certain families, and there is a higher rate of incidence amongst specific ethnicities.
Then there are also certain environmental factors which may play a role in the onset of lupus. Some of these environmental factors may act as a trigger for someone who may be genetically prone to this inflammatory disease. Such things as long-term exposure to ultraviolet rays, intense levels of emotional stress, and even certain drugs could all trigger the onset of lupus. Be sure to learn your family medical history, so that you may be aware of the potential risks.
Events for Lupus Awareness Month
Over the years, Lupus Awareness Month and World Lupus Day (it’s observed on Friday the 10th!) have made up an essential part of a growing grassroots movement to improve awareness of a chronic disease that affects millions of lives around the world. Nowadays, there are a myriad of events which are set up in honor of Lupus Awareness Month in local communities all across the country. Anyone who is interested in showing their support can get out there this year, as there will surely be an activity taking place near you!
Help Solve the Mystery of Lupus
The generous donations made during this month help fund many of the most promising research projects being conducted for lupus. In the last year, the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) was able to make some incredible breakthroughs, but much of this would not be possible without the support of others. Even the most modest donations still help to fund new life-saving research, education, and advocacy initiatives. If you have never made a donation in the past, then you may want to check out some of the opportunities listed on the new Lupus Awareness infographic!