May 10th is observed as World Lupus Day every year. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. When a person is affected with an autoimmune disease, the immune system is unable to differentiate between foreign bodies or disease-causing antigens and normal healthy tissue, which leads to it attacking the healthy cells, causing pain, tissue damage, and swelling. Lupus affects 1 in 1,000 individuals, of which nine out of ten are women. It can affect anyone between the ages of 14 and 45 and is often fatal if not treated properly.
Suzanne Zaithan Sangi is a member of the Lupus Trust India and is a Lupus patient herself. In this episode, she tells us the need for building more awareness about the condition, especially on how one can cope if diagnosed with Lupus. She also stresses on the importance of the support of friends and family during the healing process. “The intense fatigue one feels can be a huge drain on one’s mental health as well, and having someone to share the problem with makes it all less tiring,” she says. She advises listeners to always be supportive because Lupus could affect anyone in the future. Listeners should look out for symptoms such as hair loss, swelling, intense fatigue, and ulcers and if they persist, they should get an ANA (antinuclear antibody) test that would show if the body is autoimmune. If this test is positive, then one should get an Anti-dsDNA test, which is Lupus-specific.
The Lupus Trust India is a first-of-its-kind institution that is dedicated to creating awareness about the condition. It is a Public Charitable Trust that was first formed in Kerala and has been supported by individuals from all across the subcontinent. It was formed with the vision of supporting patients who are financially disadvantaged. The organisation also helps with rehabilitation, emotional, social, and mental support for the affected.
The Lupus Support Group Karnataka, along with the Lupus Trust India, is hosting an Awareness Walk, starting 9:30 am, on Sunday, May 12th, from Cubbon Park Metro Station to the Government Aquarium. We at Radio Active encourage all Bangaloreans to join the walk and commit to the cause.
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