Although these facts show specific demographics, Lupus is also diagnosed in CHILDREN and MEN. It’s not AS common, but unfortunately, it does happen. For a child or teen, it can be very difficult to be so different and limited from other healthy kids and not be able to participate in certain activities, etc. For men, it’s been said it’s tough to be diagnosed and live with a disease which is mostly considered a “female disease”, which brings on issues on quiet a few different levels for them to deal with on top of dealing with the disease itself. Either way, for anyone dealing with Lupus, support is SO important… and of course, spreading of awareness and knowledge of the disease and how it affects those of us who have to live with it.. and eventually a cure.
Lupus is hard to diagnose because the symptoms mimic some from other illnesses. There is no one test which solely determines if one has it or not. The main test used for Lupus is the ANA test (blood work) which would need to be positive AND the patient meet 4 criteria (symptoms) out of a list of 11 rheumatologist use for initial diagnosis of Lupus. The disease develops slowly and it’s possible for a person to have Lupus without a positive ANA as well. It’s tricky and can sometimes take YEARS for a person to get a confirmed diagnosis. This is dangerous because of the damage the progression of the disease can cause in the person.Symptoms can gofrom “mild”, such as extreme fatigue, severe aches, stiffness, migraines, nausea, hair loss, … to Raynaud’s phenomenon, anemia, arthritis, photosensitivity… to more serious and possible fatal issues such as heart attacks, blood clots, kidney disease, etc. In Lupus, the person’s anti-bodies, which would normally attack foreign bodies (illnesses and sickness) are basically “confused” and start to attack the person’s own tissues and organs… meaning it can start to attack just about any part of the person’s body at any given time. This makes it tough to diagnose and sometimes even treat without very close and pretty constant monitoring to see what the person’s body is “doing”.