Misconceptions About Lupus
For those with lupus, an accurate diagnosis is life-changing. Their seemingly random symptoms now make sense, and the feelings of helplessness and frustration can finally be focused towards managing the disease. However, once diagnosed, patients may find those around them insensitive to their condition. Most often this is because those with lupus may not appear ill, though physically they are.
Here are some common misconceptions about the disease and about those living with lupus.
Lupus is a Women's Disease.
While lupus is much more likely in women, perhaps ten to fifteen times more likely, men can have lupus. While there is a large variety of symptoms, men will experience symptoms similar to women.
Those With Lupus are Lazy.
Many people with lupus commonly experience this assumption. Because externally they may not appear ill, it is assumed that those with lupus are taking advantage of their condition and being lazy. Having lupus can cause extreme fatigue, and those with lupus usually require much more rest than anyone else. An onset of fatigue means a lupus flare may be occurring.
Exercise is Harmful.
Mild to moderate exercise may actually be beneficial to those with lupus. While doctors don't recommend running marathons, moderate exercise including walking or yoga may prove helpful. Light exercise can ease muscle and joint stiffness, but care should be taken to avoid over-exertion.
Pregnancy is Dangerous.
While there is an increased risk among pregnant women with lupus, it's been shown that pregnancy is a viable option. Women will need special care and attention from a team of doctors; however a woman with lupus can conceive and give birth and should not be discouraged from having children.
A Butterfly Rash Is a Sure Sign Of Lupus.
While a butterfly, or malar, rash is a classic symptom of lupus, it is not the end all sign. Some patients with lupus never have the rash, and some people without lupus have it. A facial rash can be triggered by many things, which should be eliminated before exploring lupus.
Sun Exposure Is Okay If No Rash Occurs.
While many people with lupus are photosensitive, others are not. However sun exposure can harm people with lupus internally as well as externally. Sunlight can cause other symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, and problems with the kidneys, heart and lungs. Care should be taken to prevent exposure to ultraviolet light.
People with lupus may get tired of outsiders judging their behavior. Remember, many people don't know much about lupus, and may need to be informed. Try not to judge a person based on their appearance; while they may look fine, the physical strain of lupus can be difficult and exhausting.