Monday, March 28, 2011

Lupus: It's Not Just All In Your Head - Solving The Riddle That Has Befuddled Millions

My aunt was always plagued with joint pain. Whether it was her hands, her knees or her hip, the pain just never seemed to go away. Doctors and specialists could not figure out what medical condition that she could possibly be suffering from. It was horrible watching her suffer from joint pain without any relief day after day. It seemed almost impossible to diagnose her condition and without a proper diagnosis it was impossible for her to receive the proper treatment! Little did we know that the identity of her medical condition is a systemic autoimmune disease that is prone to occur nine times more often in women than men called Lupus.

My aunt was constantly in pain all over with an "unknown" disease ever since I could remember.Lupus is also known as the great imitator due to its ability to imitate other medical conditions. This is due to the various symptoms it can show which make the medical condition even more challenging to figure out for its patients. Basically for the medical condition Lupus, the immune system attacks the body's cells and tissues which then results in inflammation all over the body particularly within the joints. There are numerous other side effects and my aunt suffered from them not knowing the exact medical disease she had.

Although I have never experienced it myself, the pain that plagued my aunt was heartbreaking to watch. Lupus has periods of illnesses that occur without warning. Basically all the symptoms just flare up for no reason. My aunt would be fine one day and then too sick to leave her bed for the next day. I would watch her wither in pain without the ability to get up or partake in any activity. The disease took a huge toll in her life and it hindered her from doing all the things that she loved like baking, gardening and even teaching. She often compared it to me as if her whole body was being torn apart and she could feel pins and needles piercing through to the core of her body.

Although Lupus is treatable through addressing the pain and symptoms that appears, there is absolutely no cure yet. Even though this is the case, I still wish that my aunt's medical condition could have been diagnosed earlier so she could have enjoyed the benefits of the treatments earlier instead of having to suffer all those years.

Joint pain all over the body or targeted areas only is the number one symptom of Lupus but that's not all. Victims of Lupus often find that they will begin developing rashes and have dermatological problems. In addition, haematological symptoms like anaemia, pulmonary and cardiac symptoms like endocarditis or pulmonary haemorrhage or neurological symptoms like cognitive dysfunction are prone to develop in patients suffering from Lupus. The numerous amounts of symptoms that are caused by Lupus only makes the experience that much more painful, troublesome and tough to diagnose.

My aunt had most of the symptoms that I described and was suffering from more medical conditions than just joint pain. After running numerous tests and examinations and finally diagnosing her medical condition, she finally received the type of treatment that was necessary for her to find relief. Although she still has Lupus today, by diagnosing the symptoms of the illness she is able to better her life by easing the pain. She is no longer hindered as much as before and I can watch her enjoy all of the daily activities she once did which bring me back to the reason of why it is crucial to be able to be diagnosed with the proper medical condition in order to receive the relief necessary.

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