7 Myths About Lupus that Need Debunking
Lupus is a complex disease that causes the body’s immune system to turn against healthy tissue instead of outside invaders. It has affected 1.5 million people in the U.S. alone and tends to be more prevalent among women who are of Native American, Hispanic, Asian, or African American background.
There are four different variations of this condition, and symptoms can range from hair loss to fatigue, to joint and/or organ damage. At times, symptoms might not be so obvious, or the person who suffers from lupus tries to quietly persevere through daily routines without saying a word—in spite of the pain. So to the observing outsider, nothing appears to be out of the ordinary, or the person’s discomfort resembles that of the flu or another common illness. Therefore, misconceptions can arise from a lack of awareness of this disease, and only increased education and conversation can remove the mystery that surrounds this condition. So here are a few of the myths that are associated with lupus.
- Lupus only affects women- majority of those who suffer from lupus are women but even children and men can develop it. According to statistics, in America 1.5 millions are diagnosed out of which 5000-10000 are in the age of 18 years or younger and 1 out of 10 men my get the disease.
- Lupus prevents pregnancy- this truth is partial. Dr Saniz says that many pregnancies in women with lupus have gone well but due to high blood pressure, the risk of miscarriage or late term complications increases since lupus usually develops during the child bearing years. Further if these women are in their active phase of renal disease then the risk increases further. There is a possibility of renal failure. Hence during pregnancy close monitoring is needed.
- Lupus is an STD- through sexual contact lupus cannot spread form one person to another. Only from the mother to foetus the lupus can spread. The possibility of the person developing the disease due to genetics is being researched upon. Or else there is no other way of transmission of the disease. The cause of lupus is still not clear but any viral or bacterial infection has been ruled out. There is not possibility of horizontal transmission.
- Lupus is a form of cancer- lupus is not connected to cancer. As a result of environmental factors and genetics, lupus may develop. In determining the risk of developing cancer, environmental factors might play a role but they do not contribute to the onset of lupus. The growth of malignant tissue starts the impact of cancer on the body. These tumors then enlarge and spread. Depending on the type and severity, the treatment options differ. In fighting lupus some of these treatment options are used.
- Lupus affects only the joints- lupus affects the joints but it is just of part of it. The immune system of the body is directly impacted by lupus. The immune system attacks the body’s own tissues and against it produces auto antibodies. Hence many parts of the body are affected adversely. The various symptoms such as poor circulation, ulcers, edema, fever, insomnia require management.
- People suffering from lupus should refrain from exercise- this myth is controversial. The person’s physical condition and the way the disease is progressing will determine the ability to exercise. Some can fight off fatigue by exercise but for some the symptoms might increase due to exercise. Hence consult your doctor and to check whether any physical activity is increasing the symptoms, observe closely. Other thing to consider is that some exercises should not be done at all. However some activity can be beneficial such as walking around and some degree of getting up. At the same time avoid overexerting yourself.
- Flares can be caused by aspartame- this claim is false according to the Lupus Foundation of America. This is the healthiest sugar substitute. If you have a particular medical condition then you should present your queries related to diet to the doctor. Moreover overall health can be achieved by following a healthy and a balanced diet.