It’s World Lupus Day!

10

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).

 

 

 

Meet the Lupus World at the ICL in Vienna

Hofburg at night

Hofburg by night – ICL and Lupus Summit venue 2015

Today is World Lupus Day, a great time to be thinking about bringing the Lupus World together. 

‘Meet the Lupus World’ is our theme for the Lupus Summit in Vienna on 5th September 2015. The summit will take place as an integral part of our annual convention. Make sure your group is represented by getting in touch with the LUPUS EUROPE secretariat for further details secretariat@lupus-europe.org

LUPUS EUROPE’s convention will take place from 4th-6th September, following on directly from the ICL congress. We hope that this organisation will mean that many of our members also have the opportunity to visit the ICL. 

Happy World Lupus Day! 

11th International Congress on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

World Lupus Day 2015

Dear Lupus Europe members,

The theme for this year’s World Lupus Day is “Tame your wolf – Tame your lupus”.

We were delighted to be able to ask Leslie Quagraine, a fellow lupus sufferer, if he could produce the artwork for our campaign. Leslie was born in London but is a long-time resident in Finland. He has been a freelance illustrator for 37 years. 

Here is what Leslie has to say about his involvement in this project:

“The two symbols associated with lupus, latin for wolf, are the wolf and the butterfly. Although the rash across many a lupus sufferer’s face is an unwanted symptom, its butterfly shape has become a symbol associated with the care of the disease.

The young woman in the poster is determined to control her lupus/wolf, with the support of a squadron of butterflies. The variety of butterflies indicate that symptoms and treatments differ from patient to patient.” 

With this campaign we hope to be able, not only to increase awareness, but also to promote better management of people’s lupus and a feeling of empowerment. The idea of taming the wolf is a strong message that it is possible to actively participate in our care and tame our disease.

Print