Our grateful thanks to the patient support charity Lupus UK for their contribution to our report (which you can hear again via the audio player located further down this page), and for the use of the web copy below. You can learn more about the charity via its website, located at www.lupusuk.org.uk
So, what exactly is lupus ? It's an incurable immune system illness, probably genetic in origin and mainly suffered by women, it can affect any part of the body.
Lupus may be triggered by various means and can present in a bewildering number of ways, even to the extent of mimicking other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis.
The causes of lupus are not positively known though research has provided evidence implicating heredity, hormones, and infections including viruses.
Lupus can adversely affect the lives of sufferers and their families, and influence relationships with friends and business colleagues
Some 50,000 may have lupus in the UK and 90% of sufferers are female (it's more common in black and asian women than white women) mainly between the ages of 15 and 55.
The symptoms: Although there are many possible manifestations of lupus, those listed below are some of the more common. It has to be remembered lupus is a disease which can present many different facets, rarely do two people have exactly the same symptoms. A person with lupus may have four or five symptoms, where some of these might recede and/or others develop;
Delays in diagnosis: With its many symptoms, lupus can be difficult to diagnose which can delay the start of treatment that may contain the disease and hopefully limit potential damage to the kidneys, heart, lungs or brain. Those diagnosed usually remain in medical care and receive ongoing treatment.
Listen to this weeks radio report
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