There are diseases that are very high profile. Diseases like breast cancer, and, more recently, Motor Neurone disease, have been highlighted by Internet campaigns like the ‘no make-up selfie’ and the Ice bucket challenge. But there are other diseases that many of us know nothing about, despite the fact that they blight thousands of lives all over the world. Lupus is just one of those diseases.
Lupus is a disease of the immune system that affects one in 5,000 white women, one in every 1,000 women of Asian origin and one in 625 women who are of African Caribbean descent. Lupus can also affect men. I first became aware of the disease a few years ago when I read of a young actress who had died from Lupus, who had created a brilliant film before succombing to the disease. N’Deaye Ba had starred in Casualty, Sea of Souls and Jericho, but died at the age of 32. With her mother, she had created a brilliant piece of film called ‘The Wolf Inside’ (Lupus means Wolf in Latin) which chronicled her battle with Lupus. N’Deaye’s was not diagnosed in time for her story to end well, but her legacy is a film that will help others.
This month is Lupus awareness month, and Benenden Health have posted a very informative and interesting post about the disease on their website.(You can view the post here.) The post highlights the many different forms of Lupus, along with the symptoms a sufferer may exhibit, like extreme tiredness, swollen and painful joints, or a skin rash that is hard to explain. Lupus can also lead to hair loss, in some cases extreme. If you do exhibit any, or all of the symptoms mentioned above, you can ask your doctor for tests. Early diagnosis can help sufferers to manage their condition.
With the likes of Lady Gaga, Selina Gomez and ‘Third Rock from the Sun’ star Kristen Johnson all high profile Lupus sufferers, it may now be the time that people gain more understanding and knowledge of what is a terrible. yet often ignored, disease.
*In collaboration with Benenden Health.