Lupus is a complex, chronic autoimmune disease marked by excess inflammation and a variety of other symptoms. The body’s immune system essentially goes into overdrive and attacks normal, healthy tissue resulting in swelling and damage to other organs. A lupus diagnosis is life-changing and being aware of key facts and common misconceptions about the disease can make all the difference in helping to understand this chronic condition.
Misconception #1: Lupus is contagious
Lupus is not caused by a carrier and cannot be transmitted by one person to another. It is not a virus or bacteria. It could, however, be passed from mother to child, but that is a different type of transmission.
Misconception #2: Lupus only occurs in women
While lupus is ten to fifteen times more likely to occur in women, men can still get lupus. The symptoms they experience are very similar to women as well.
Misconception #3: A butterfly rash is a telltale sign of lupus
While a butterfly rash across the face is a classic sign of lupus, it’s not the end-all be-all. Some people with lupus never experience the rash and some people have a facial rash for other reasons.
Misconception #4: If you have lupus, you can’t get pregnant
Many women with lupus deliver happy, healthy babies. Proper pre-natal care is essential and most women do not pass their condition on to their child, however it is a possibility.
Misconception #5: People with lupus are lazy
Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Many people describe lupus as feeling like they have the flu on a daily basis. It isn’t called an ‘invisible illness’ for no reason.
Misconception #6: Sun exposure is okay if no rash is present
Some lupus sufferers are photosensitive while others are not. A lupus diagnosis requires taking extra care to protect yourself from ultraviolet light as it can harm lupus sufferers internally as well. Kidneys, heart, and lungs may all be susceptible to damage from UV rays.
Misconception #7: You can’t exercise if you have lupus
Exercises like yoga and walking may actually be helpful for those with lupus as they help to reduce muscle pain and joint stiffness. The most important thing to remember is not to over-exert yourself.
Misconception # 8: Lupus is uncommon
There are over 1.5 million Americans living with lupus according to the Lupus Foundation of America.
Misconception #9: It’s rare to see anyone young struggling with Lupus
A lupus diagnosis commonly occurs in childbearing years, from ages 15 to 44.
Misconception #10: A lupus diagnosis is almost always deadly
While the disease is incurable, lupus and its symptoms can be controlled with medication.
If you or someone you love is struggling to manage lupus symptoms, you may be eligible to participate in a research study at New England Research Associates. Qualified participants are closely evaluated by board-certified physicians and other medical professionals, and may even gain access to new treatments before they are available to the general public. Compensation is also available for time and travel expense. To learn more, click HERE.