Daily Archives: October 5, 2007

What is Lupus?

One of my donors to my Buy Me a Lego campaign was a representative of the Lupus Erythematosus Society of Saskatchewan (L.E.S.S.). I appreciate this opportunity to give them so more publicity. I had heard the word “Lupus” but I was not familiar with exactly this disease was, so I looked it up on their site.

According to the site,

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory disease which may affect many different organs and tissues in the body. Women of child bearing age are typically affected, but individuals of any age, sex or race may develop the disease.

SLE while uncommon, is not rare, with an estimated disease prevalence of 1 in every 2,000 population. It is a condition which appears to be increasing in prominence especially over the last 15 – 20 years. This is likely explained by the earlier recognition of milder cases because of increased patient and physician awareness and by the enhanced availability of sensitive laboratory tests helpful in the diagnosis.

I was interested in the derivation of the word “lupus”, which obviously means wolf from Latin. From what I can tell, the rash you can get causes you to appear vaguely wolf-like. From one of the symptoms:

Skin rash – a very common feature occurring in many patients. The classic rash is called a “butterfly rash” because it occurs in a butterfly- like a patch over the bridge of the nose and cheeks. This type of rash is in fact quite common with most lupus rashes being far less specific and accruing anywhere on the body but especially over sun exposed areas.

You can find more information about the disease, including the symptoms, here. Thankfully, it seems that most people have mild cases which can be easily controlled. I encourage you to go check them out.

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