What Is World Lupus Day?

Today, people around the world and across social media are donning purple in support of World Lupus Day on May 10, 2023. Sponsored by the World Lupus Federation, the focus of World Lupus Day is to raise awareness around the lived experiences of those with the condition. In addition to fostering a greater understanding of lupus amongst the public, the day also brings to light the continued need for advancements in healthcare services, data reporting, and research, in order to better meet the needs of patients and aid in early detection and treatment efforts.

"World Lupus Day is an incredibly important opportunity to raise awareness of the physical, emotional and economic impact that lupus can have," Professor Syed Atiqul Haq, President of the Lupus Foundation of Bangladesh, stated via World Lupus Day. To do so, the organization is encouraging individuals and companies alike to take action by posting informational graphics online (which can be found via their virtual tool kit), illuminating landmarks with purple lights, and reaching out to local government officials and media outlets to further highlight the significance of World Lupus Day. The Lupus Foundation of America further suggests initiating a Facebook fundraiser or donating to lupus patient organizations. For those spreading awareness on social media, don't forget to add the hashtags #WorldLupusDay and #MakeLupusVisible.

Living with lupus

Most frequently affecting women ages 15 through 45, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that can affect the health of one's joints, skin, blood, brain, kidneys, lungs, and heart (via Cleveland Clinic). Prompting pain and inflammation within the body, the number of symptoms associated with lupus is extensive, causing it to present similarly to many different illnesses. However, some common symptoms include joint and muscle pain, fatigue, rashes, dry eyes, chest and stomach pain, hair loss, light sensitivity, headaches, mouth sores, and more.

While the cause of the condition is not entirely understood, hormonal changes, environmental stimulants, and family medical history are factors believed to contribute to one's risk for lupus. Although there is no cure, there are ways in which the disease can be managed. Your physician may prescribe certain medications for specific symptoms. Some examples include steroids for rash treatment; hydroxychloroquine to address mouth sores, fatigue, or skin or joint issues; or azathioprine for more severe cases of lupus.

In the event of serious organ damage, lupus can be fatal, which is why seeking treatment early on is crucial. The disease is not transmissible, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding sunlight, and engaging in regular low-impact physical activity may help minimize flare-ups.