Lupus: A Disease That Still Stumps The Medical Community - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Lupus: A Disease That Still Stumps The Medical Community

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It’s one of those mysterious diseases that continue to stump the medical community. No one quite understands what causes this chronic, autoimmune disease that an estimated 1.5 million Americans are suffering from right now. Lupus is non-discriminatory, capable of damaging any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs) and ranges from mild to life-threatening. I witnessed its debilitating effects first-hand when my mother was diagnosed with lupus in 1993.

You have to understand my mom, Carol, has always been physically fit with more energy than she knows what to do with. So, when she suddenly couldn’t lift her arms and appeared virtually paralyzed, we knew something was terribly wrong. Her joints ached, her energy was zapped, and she was in constant pain. Right away, she went to the hospital, but even after a slew of blood tests, the doctors didn’t have an answer for us. It took a specialist to determine, my healthy mom, in her mid-40s, had a disease we had never heard of. The doctor prescribed a heavy dose of prednisone and explained very little other than to say the cause was unknown and the symptoms could last as short as six weeks or as long as a lifetime. My mom went to the parking lot and cried.

The medication helped manage her pain and the weakness in her arms, but the prednisone was only masking the problem, not curing it, as there’s no known cure for lupus. Then, just as unexpectedly as it arrived, the lupus vanished after two exhausting months. Just like that it seemed to be gone. The doctors described it as a “lupus attack” and warned it may come back. Gratefully, all these years later, it’s never reared its ugly head again. You can imagine how fortunate we feel.

I’m telling this story now because May is Lupus Awareness Month and I’m well aware not everyone is as fortunate as my mom so I wanted to spread the word. I’ll leave you with a link where you can learn more about the symptoms, treatment and how to help solve this cruel mystery that afflicts approximately 5 million people worldwide.

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