Doha, 10 May 2022: Hamad General Hospital’s Rheumatology division, led by its Chair, Dr. Samar Al-Emadi, is highlighting World Lupus Day, which falls on every 10 May and is also creating awareness of the chronic autoimmune disease throughout the month of May which is World Lupus Awareness Month.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that can affect virtually any organ of the body. People with lupus can experience significant symptoms, such as skin rash ,joints pain, extreme fatigue, hair loss, cognitive issues, and physical impairments that affect every facet of their lives.
The Rheumatology division is organizing a few activities including an awareness booth at Hamad General Hospital’s main building from 10 to 12 May between 8am to 1pm daily to offer hospital visitors information about the disease, its manifestations, diagnosis, prevention of complications and treatments.
The event, being held under the theme: “Make Lupus Visible”, will also serve as an opportunity to raise awareness of health care workers across different sub-specialties and increase their clinical knowledge of the disease and how to best support affected patients and their families.
Since 2004, lupus organizations around the globe have conducted activities on May 10 to raise awareness and educate the public about the symptoms and health effects of lupus. Together, they hope to make lupus an international health priority and ensure that people with lupus around the world are diagnosed and treated effectively.
“Lupus could be an invisible illness because someone with lupus can appear healthy despite battling many internal issues, such as debilitating joint pain, skin rashes, overwhelming fatigue, blood disorders, and more.
She explains further that lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body and no two cases of lupus are alike. “the disease can impact any organ or tissue, from the skin or joints to the heart or kidneys. Lupus usually develops between ages 15 and 44 and it lasts a lifetime. Lupus can strike anyone, but 90 percent of the people living with lupus are females. Men, children, and teenagers develop lupus too,” she states.
According to her, while the causes of lupus are unknown, scientists believe hormones, genetics (heredity) and environmental factors are involved—more research is needed to better understand the role of these factors in people with lupus. But two leading causes of serious illness and death from lupus are kidney disease and heart disease.
Dr. Al Emadi stresses that, “Lupus can be difficult to diagnose and can be expensive to live with and treat. its symptoms mimic those of other diseases, vary in intensity and can come and go over time. This is why early diagnosis is crucial to preventing long-term consequences of the disease. If you notice signs or symptoms of lupus, be sure to engage your doctor and ask questions.”
She states that because of its invisible nature, it is very important to create awareness of lupus to make it visible to align with the theme of this year’s awareness campaign. “Lupus is a mysterious disease that may be difficult to diagnose or treat. This is the reason we are raising awareness among the public and health care workers for early diagnosis and treatment, if not prevention. So, I will urge anyone who is experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms to get a referral to see a specialist for early diagnosis and treatment,” Dr. Al Emadi stresses.
“World Lupus Day serves as an opportunity to call attention to the impact that lupus has on people around the world. It is to bring greater attention and resources to efforts to end the suffering caused by this disabling and potentially fatal autoimmune disease. The annual observance also focuses on the need for improved patient healthcare services, increased research into the causes of and cure for lupus, earlier diagnosis and treatment of lupus, and better epidemiological data on lupus globally,” she adds.