Lupus: An Invisible Illness

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, there are approximately 1.5 million Americans living with some form of lupus. There are estimated to be 16,000 new cases of lupus per year, with the those falling in the childbearing age group being most affected. While anyone can lupus, about 90 percent of people with lupus are women. [1] Many people associate lupus with a butterfly-shaped rash that appears over the cheeks, but what about the symptoms that you can’t see?

Lupus is what’s known as invisible illness. This means that most symptoms are not readily visible to an onlooker. The butterfly-shaped rash, also known as a malar rash, only occurs in about 40 percent of people with lupus. The symptoms associated with lupus that you can’t see are often debilitating, especially during a flare-up. Joint pain, extreme fatigue, fevers, sun sensitivity…the list goes on.

Lupus also doesn’t just affect one area of the body. Lupus can cause kidney problems, heart and lung complications, and blood disorders.

Living with an invisible illness like lupus can really be a double-edged sword. While you may look great on the outside, you may be enduring a great deal of pain on the inside making you feel miserable. This can provoke friends and coworkers to make comments like, “you don’t look sick..” or “It’s all in your head…” These kinds of comments can be hurtful and frustrating. Spreading awareness about lupus and helping to educate those uninformed is the best way to help create more understanding and acceptance.

If you’ve been diagnosed with lupus, research studies could also be an option. Studies for potential new lupus treatments are enrolling now at New England Research Associates. Qualified participants may have access to potential new treatments, receive care from board-certified physicians and other medical staff, and may receive compensation for time and travel expenses. To learn more about these studies and to see if you qualify CLICK HERE.