5 things to know about lupus

A mom colouring with her son
Christine Girgenti, a lupus patient colouring with her son.

May is Lupus Awareness Month! Lupus is a chronic disease with a variety of symptoms caused by inflammation in one or more parts of the body.

In honour of raising awareness and support for those affected by lupus, check out these five things that everyone should know.

1. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder in which the body produces antibodies that attack its own tissues. These harmful self-reactive antibodies, known as autoantibodies, lead to widespread inflammation and tissue damage.

Antibody lupus depiction

2. It is estimated to impact more than 1 in 1,000 Canadians.

A person itching their arm

3. Lupus is incredibly complex, impacting nearly every organ in the body. Known as “the disease with a thousand faces” symptoms can include fatigue, joint pain and stiffness, skin rashes, chest pain, fever and kidney failure.

A mother pushing a daughter on a swing
Liz Attfield, a lupus patient, with her daughter.

4. More than five million people worldwide are living with lupus, the majority are young women.

[L-R] Drs. Zahi Touma, Dafna Gladman, and Joan Wither. (Photos: UHN)
[L-R] UHN’s world-leading lupus specialists Drs. Zahi Touma, Dafna Gladman, and Joan Wither. (Photos: UHN)

5. The cause of lupus is not known and, as yet, there is no cure for lupus. But, thanks to the team at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute, people with lupus are living longer with a better quality of life.

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