Lupus is a mysterious and debilitating disease. It is difficult to define, hard to understand, and a challenge to live with and to treat. There is no one test to diagnose lupus. It can take months or even years before a diagnosis is made.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease. The immune system is supposed to fight foreign substances in the body (e.g., germs, viruses). But, in autoimmune disease, the immune system is out of control. It does not just attack foreign invaders anymore; it now also attacks healthy tissue and organs in the body. Lupus can attack and ravage many different parts of the body, including the skin, lungs, joints, heart, blood cells, and kidneys.
In the last 56 years there has only been one new drug approved for the treatment of lupus (Benlysta, approved in 2011). Furthermore, people of African heritage do not appear to respond to the new drug Benlysta. Before Benlysta, the last approved drugs to treat lupus were Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) and corticosteroids, in 1955. Aspirin was approved to treat lupus in 1948. There is no cure for lupus, but these medicines, along with lifestyle changes, can help manage it.
Research shows that lupus is more common and more severe than people realize. You can help change that – POP on Friday, May 17th!
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