What Is Lupus

Tens of thousands of Canadian men, women and children are living with lupus.  Lupus is an under-recognized, life threatening autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system becomes overactive, attacking healthy tissues and vital organs such as kidneys, heart and lungs.  Lupus is most common in women of childbearing age, but also afflicts men and children.

Symptoms vary from each person and can include extreme fatigue, painful joints, swollen feet and legs, and chest pains.  There is no cure for lupus. Lupus can be controlled, but people die every year from complications of the disease.  Lupus also impacts nine times more women than men, often in the prime of their lives, between the ages of 15 and 45 years.

One of the most common types of lupus is Systemic Lupus, a complex and sometimes baffling condition that can target any tissue or organ of the body, including skin, muscles, joints, blood and blood vessels, lungs, heart, kidneys and the brain.  There are other types of lupus which mainly affect the skin (Discoid Lupus).

It is important to know that while lupus can be a serious condition, in most cases it can be treated and controlled. One of the challenges is that it can take several years to diagnose and to determine the appropriate treatment. Lupus often goes in cycles, with periods of time in which symptoms may disappear completely. Diagnosis and treatment are improving, allowing people with lupus to live increasingly active and productive lives.

Visit www.lupusontario.org for more information about lupus.