Lupus is an autoimmune disease that results from the body’s immune system attacking healthy organs and tissues. It causes chronic inflammation that can affect the skin, organs and joints.
Here we explore some of the myths surrounding the disease:
- Myth: Lupus is a kind of cancer or HIV.
Fact: Lupus is a distinct disease, which can affect many parts of the body. Symptoms can often mimic other diseases.
- Myth: Lupus is contagious.
Fact: Lupus is caused by a deficiency in a person’s immune system. You cannot “catch” lupus from another person.
- Myth: Lupus only affects women.
Fact: While lupus is more common in women, it also affects men. Lupus most commonly develops between the ages of 15 and 44.
- Myth: Lupus is usually deadly.
Fact: Each patient with lupus presents differently. In most cases, lupus is not fatal if it is caught early and treated properly. Over the last decade, a number of new treatments have become available to better manage the condition.
- Myth: Patients with lupus are unable to get pregnant. Lupus can result in birth defects.
Fact: Women with lupus can get pregnant, with more than half delivering healthy babies. On some rare occasions, women with lupus give birth to babies who develop lupus or have heart defects. Women who have lupus are encouraged to see an obstetrician who is experienced in managing high-risk pregnancies.
For more information about lupus, patients should contact a physician experienced in treating the condition. Developing a strong support system of friends, family members and other lupus patients may be beneficial to many patients.