It’s World Lupus Day!

We at LUPUS EUROPE wish you all a great World Lupus Day, full of hope and awareness! For this we have created a little animated video about LUPUS EUROPE. Please feel free to share!

We would also like to repost a video made a couple of years ago about the importance of World Lupus Day.

Convention summary

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The LUPUS EUROPE annual convention has just come to a close. Hosted in Milan by Lupus Italy on the occasion of their 30thanniversary, the convention was an inspiring event centred around the theme of “pain, fatigue and stress”, with Dr Chiara Tani as a key note speaker.

Benefitting from the Italian Lupus Clinic experience, we also covered other topics such as the treatment of women who wish to have children, the use of biologics, how specialised lupus Clinics operate, … Among those presenting, and working in one such clinic, was Fulvia Ceccarelli, a rheumatologist who is herself a lupus patient. It was certainly interesting to hear from someone who has experienced both sides of the doctor/patient relationship. We also took a closer look at the non-biological side of pain, fatigue and stress, with an excellent presentation by the president of the Belgian French Speaking association, Bernadette Van Leeuw. Davide Mazzoni, one of LUPUS EUROPE’s patient research partners, presented a new study which is looking at the possible effects of childhood trauma and the pathways into adulthood which can affect a person’s disease onset and progress. He then took us through the 2017 survey “AT HOME OR IN HOSPITAL?” on the preference for subcutaneous injection or intravenous infusion of biological therapy among Italian SLE patients.

Our Kick Lupus campaign had a wonderful boost with Jeanette Andersen taking us through the new exercise programme (soon to be released). Jeanette has herself made an incredible recovery from being unable to walk last year to jumping and running around this year following her back surgery. The programme has several levels and can be started even if unable to get out of bed.

The convention was also the opportunity to discuss the 2018-2023 strategic plan with our members. The plan, developed after extensive consultation with multiple stakeholders provides us with a clear path for the years ahead, in the pursuit of our vision of “A fulfilling life for all people with lupus in Europe until we have reached a world without lupus.” The Strategic plan discussions were concluded by the adoption of the new LUPUS EUROPE logo. Our many thanks go to Patrick and Sandra from setfire.to, the pro-bono sponsors who designed the logo for us and are now finalising our new website. They have clearly understood what LUPUS EUROPE Stands for: while retaining the symbolic lupus butterfly, it has a vibrant person at its core – just as we have our members and their members at the very heart of our work. We very much wanted a symbol of energy and hope, reflecting the already significantly better outlook for lupus patients today and all our hopes for the future.

This year, Kirsten Lerstrøm, LUPUS EUROPE chair, is stepping down. We cannot thank her enough for 10 years of devoted service and dogged determination to serve the cause of people living with lupus. She has encouraged us to keep the momentum and we look to the future with hope and determination. At the close of the convention, Jeanette Andersen was elected as the new Chair of LUPUS EUROPE, and Alain Cornet was appointed to the newly created position of General Secretary.

We are happy to present the 2018 board who we are sure will continue to serve the best interests of LUPUS EUROPE’s member organisations. From left to right: Katharine Wheeler (Vice-Chair & Secretary), Kirsi Myllys (Treasurer), Anne Charlet (Vice-Chair),  Jeanette Andersen (Chair), Annemarie Sluijmers (Skin) and Sara Badreh (Research & Youth).

board pic 2017

These few lines are just a taster, from a very full convention. More news and a complete convention report will be on its way soon.

 

It’s World Lupus Day!

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May 10th is World Lupus Day

What is lupus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the body’s connective tissue and organs. Parts of the body affected can include the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, blood and skin.

Up to 500,000 people in Europe have lupus. 90% of people with lupus are women and 80% of diagnoses are made between the ages of 15 and 45.

Symptoms can vary. The less severe ones include rashes, hair loss (alopecia), swollen glands, photosensitivity, joint pain and ulcers in the mouth or nose. In more severe cases, lupus may cause pleurisy, pericarditis, psychosis, meningitis, epilepsy or kidney failure. In young women, lupus can cause miscarriage or premature delivery.

If lupus affects vital organs and is left untreated it can be potentially fatal as it may cause organ damage and failure. Fortunately, in most cases, treatment puts lupus into remission before that can happen.

Great progress has been made developing treatment plans that considerably reduce lupus activity for most patients, however there is no cure yet! Typical treatment may include antimalarials (hydroxychloroquine), steroids (prednisolone), non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and immuno-suppressants. Many patients do well on current medication but patients with more severe forms of lupus need more treatment options and solutions which reduce the current reliance on cortisone and its many long term side-effects. A complete treatment plan should also include physical exercise which is proven to have positive effects on fatigue, pain and mental health.

In March 2011, a new biological treatment became the first FDA-approved lupus drug treatment in over 50 years, however, is only used in limited cases due to its high cost. Several new treatments are now in the research and development process, but lupus research remains challenging because the disease itself is so multifaceted and complex in origin, with a mixture of genetic, environmental and other factors that has yet to be understood.

For most patients, living a full life with lupus is now possible, thanks to increasingly accepted standards of care, but this relies on early diagnosis, consistent treatment prescribed by a lupus specialist, and adherence to medication. Getting back to an active professional life may present a challenge for some but many people are able to return once their lupus is well controlled. Most women who want to start a family will also be able to if they plan their pregnancy carefully, with specialist supervision.

lupus europe

What is LUPUS EUROPE?

LUPUS EUROPE is an umbrella organisation that federates national lupus groups across Europe. It represents 26 groups (between 15-6,000 members), in 24 countries (33,000 people in all). It was first formed in 2000 (formerly known as ELEF).

LUPUS EUROPE’s activities include raising awareness, sharing information between members and countries, empowering national groups, and helping members participate in and benefit from research. Over the years, LUPUS EUROPE has fought hard for patient-centred care and the inclusion of patient organisations as valued healthcare stakeholders.

 

kick lupus poster with logo

The Kick Lupus campaign – Why ‘Kick Lupus’?

The campaign ‘Kick Lupus!’ focuses on the need for the development of better treatments, increased awareness about the disease’s impact, and management options for patients, carers and health professionals.

Kick-starting a better life – adhere to treatment: Not taking medication or taking it incorrectly is the #1 reason why treatment doesn’t work. Treatment is critical to living well with lupus. Know your pills, and follow your doctor’s advice. Doing so will help you kick your lupus!

Kicking ideas around – patient/doctor communication is key: We will only win in lupus if we work together as a team. The Doctor/Patient relationship is crucial: agreeing on treatment plans, working together on new treatment options, and participating in research to better kick lupus into oblivion!

Kicking yourself into shape: physical activity reduces tiredness and pain: It has been scientifically proven that physical activity helps reduce fatigue and pain. This is also true for people with lupus. It can be hard to exercise at first but it soon starts to pay. Exercise regularly, gradually increasing difficulty and endurance. A key component in kicking lupus!

Kicking lupus awareness into midfield: volunteer in your local group: You are not alone. Many of us are trying to kick lupus, and we need to move together, cheering each other on when we feel the burden – helping each other when we can. All our member organisations need volunteers to increase awareness and take projects forwards, kicking lupus together!

Help us Kick lupus NOW! Take your first steps today. You can find the list of local member groups on the LUPUS EUROPE Website (www.lupus-europe.org).