(Robin Roberts/ Healthing) — According to Lupus Canada , lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that manifests in inflammation in one or more parts of the body. Symptoms vary from person to person but can include joint pain, extreme fatigue, rash, chest pain, weight gain and headache — which is why it’s referred to as “ the disease with a thousand faces .”
It’s also difficult to diagnose, since symptoms can sometimes mimic rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis . More than one in 1,000 Canadians live with lupus, and women are eight times more likely to be affected, usually between the ages of 15 and 45. Under and over those ages, the disease, which presents as one of five types — the most common is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which targets any tissue or organ in the body — affects both sexes equally.
Although it was identified more than 2,000 years ago, there is still no cure for lupus, and its cause is still not fully understood, although heredity and hormones may play a part. Leanne Mielczarek, executive director, Lupus Canada , shares some background, as well as why she believes that, with education and awareness, the organization’s goal of “life without lupus” will soon be met. (…)