Why do we celebrate World Lupus Day?
Every year on May 10, people around the globe celebrate World Lupus Day. The initiative was born from the World Lupus Federation, which is a global organization that brings together associations of lupus patients to evolve the treatment of those who have it. By doing so, they aim to improve the perception of what it means to live with the disease.
The general objectives of this day focus on increasing the understanding of lupus, its symptoms, and existing treatments. At the same time, the aim is to raise awareness of the clinical importance of a condition that affects, in most cases, people between 15 and 45 years of age.
So, if you want to know what lupus is, what its symptoms are, the available treatments, the number of affected patients, the activities on their day, and how to get involved, we invite you to keep reading!
What is lupus?
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that damages the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, brain, lungs, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, among others.
The types of lupus are systemic erythematous, cutaneous, drug-induced, and neonatal. At the same time, although the causes of the disease aren’t clear, experts recognize the following as risk factors:
- Genetic predisposition
- Exaggerated sun exposure
- Epigenetics: Variations in gene expression
- Some medications used to control blood pressure and seizures
As we explained, lupus is a disease that can affect different parts of the body; therefore, symptoms vary from person to person. Likewise, the intensity and duration of the critical episodes can also vary.
Despite this, the symptoms that are usually present are almost always the following:
- Pain in the joints with generalized tiredness
- Chest discomfort
- Dry eyes
- Butterfly-shaped rashes on the face
- Raynaud’s phenomenon: A spasm of the blood vessels in the extremities, especially in the fingers, causing them to change color and size
- Hair loss
One of the main goals of World Lupus Day is to raise awareness of the medical alternatives available to patients, i.e. the treatments available. First of all, it’s necessary to understand that the approach is not acute, but chronic and lifelong.
Medications and self-care are the two main measures. Thus, some of the most commonly used drugs to cope with lupus are as follows:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
In turn, among the personal care recommendations reducing sun exposure, being physically active, following a balanced diet, not smoking, and paying attention to your levels of vitamin D and calcium.
You may be interested in: Diet and Lupus: What to Eat and What to Avoid
According to estimates, 5 million people worldwide suffer from the disease. The probability of premature mortality in all cases of lupus ranges from 10% to 15%. In addition, the systemic erythematous form has the highest incidence in the population.
Along with eye-opening figures, World Lupus Day seeks to raise the visibility of celebrities who are among those who have the disease. In this way, they attempt to eliminate the social stigma that threatens the quality of life of patients.
Some of the stars and celebrities who have lupus are Selena Gomez (actress, singer, producer), Toni Braxton (singer, writer, and actress), and Nick Cannon (rapper, comedian, actor, and film producer).
Celebrate World Lupus Day
The first World Lupus Day took place in 2004. This was agreed upon at the VII International Congress on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Related Diseases, which took place in New York.
Since that emblematic moment, each year a slogan’s established, and work is done on objectives that are based on awareness, visibility, the spread of real information about the disease, the creation of awareness, and appeals to the health systems of each country.
For 2021, the motto is “Making lupus visible”. In this sense, the work focuses on replicating the information with the help of social networks, putting an end to misconceptions that represent barriers.
World Lupus Day activities
Thus, the tools of World Lupus Day to achieve the objectives set out are its activities, which are refined over the years. We can mention the main alternatives:
- Virtual contests
- Walks and all kinds of fundraising events
- Congresses with the information presented by experts
- The distribution of posters
- The delivery of interactive books to educate children and young people
- Campaigns with celebrities, such as Julian Lennon (son of John Lennon)
Read also: Lupus and Pregnancy – What You Should Know
How can I participate in World Lupus Day?
The advantage of remote interaction, favored by social networks and other media, means that there a multiple ways to participate easily in World Lupus Day. To this end, the first major action is to share the official poster of the commemoration.
The following may also be useful:
- Use drawings of butterflies as a sign of support on windows and share photos on networks with the hashtag #WorldLupusDay.
- Donate to official organizations in the country where you are.
- Bake butterfly-shaped cakes for the bake-off event and post photos on the networks. The hashtag to use is #BakeUsHappy.
- Take the lupus quiz with friends to raise funds.
- Wear purple clothing throughout May 10, as it’s the color linked with the cause.
Educate and support to celebrate World Lupus Day
One of the biggest shortcomings in improving the quality of life for lupus sufferers is the delay in diagnosis. The difficulty of detecting the disease is due to the different symptoms. Therefore, educating people makes the arduous process of detection faster.
Overall, in the midst of World Lupus Day, the psychological and emotional factors of patients shouldn’t be overlooked to improve their experience. Depression and anxiety are frequently occurring disorders that can be prevented with proper support.It might interest you...