Upon hearing someone has lupus, many of us don't know what that really means. Categorized as a chronic autoimmune disease in which an individual's immune system attacks their organs and tissues, those diagnosed with often lupus suffer a variety of adverse signs and symptoms.
Diagnosed at the age of 14, one college student who is now 21 recalls her experiences living and dealing with lupus. Lupus typically impacts an individual's skin, blood, joints and organs. For the young woman, her disease has led her to develop kidney disease for which she recently underwent chemotherapy treatment. For this young woman, every day living with this debilitating disease can be different.
At one point she recalled having blisters all over her body. The painful blisters made it difficult for her to get dressed or even walk. The woman also developed a blood clotting disorder as a result of her lupus which has resulted in many medical emergencies including a recent bout of appendicitis.
An estimated 1.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with lupus. Those suffering from lupus typically display no outward signs of their sickness, but often experience painful and debilitating flare-ups that make it difficult to impossible to even get out of bed.
Lupus is often difficult to diagnose as the adverse side-effects of the disease often mimic other illnesses. Delay in diagnosis and treatment can lead those suffering to experience significant damage to vital tissues and organs. Because of the disease's debilitating impact on an individual's health, many individuals who have lupus are unable to work.
For the young woman diagnosed at age 14, despite her many health problems and the uncertainly of her future, she remains positive and refuses to let her disease prevent her from living her life and fulfilling her dreams.
Source: Greene County Daily World, "Bloomfield college student coping with chronic disease with positive attitude; participating in Lupus Walk on Saturday," Nick Schneider, Sept. 27, 2012