Lupus Awareness: But What Is Lupus?


Miah Andrade, Writer

 May is Lupus Awareness Month in the United States. Lupus is an autoimmune chronic illness that can affect any part of the body, including the skin, joints, and internal organs. Lupus can develop in anyone, male or female of any age, including children.

In 2016, I learned about the meaning of the word Lupus with my diagnosis.

The most common symptoms of Lupus are extreme fatigue, painful or swollen joints, fever, cognitive problems, butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and nose, etc. In addition, the weather can play an important role. Experts say humidity can aggravate joint soreness, while exposure to the sun’s UV rays seems to draw the immune system off balance. Cold temperature could be causing painful flare-ups as blood vessels constrict in the cold to prevent heat loss. The link between the sun and lupus flare-ups is thought to be a set of inflammatory protein molecules called cytokines, which are activated when ultraviolet light hits the skin. The skin inflammation that results can create a chain reaction of other symptoms.