Caregivers in Jupiter FL
May is Lupus Awareness Month. As a family caregiver this is an opportunity for you to learn more about this disease and the impact that it could make on your parent’s quality of life as they age.
Some of the things that you should know about lupus include:
- According to the Lupus Foundation of America, there are around 1.5 million Americans currently living with some form of lupus
- There are at least five million people living with some form of the disease throughout the world
- Lupus can and does occur in people of both sexes and all ages
- Approximately 90 percent of those with the disease are women
- 70 percent of all cases of lupus are systemic lupus
- Approximately half of people who develop systemic lupus will experience problems with a major organ such as the brain, heart, kidneys, or lungs
- 10 percent of all cases of lupus are cutaneous lupus, which affects only the skin
- 10 percent of all cases of lupus are considered “drug-induced”. That is, they are caused by taking high dosages of certain medications
- 20 percent of those who receive a diagnosis of lupus has a sibling or parent who either already has the disease or who will receive a diagnosis of the disease
- Women from Black, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Alaskan Native, and Pacific Island heritage are up to three times more likely to develop the disease than white women
- 10 to 15 percent of those who receive a diagnosis of lupus will die prematurely due to complications caused by their condition. The rest will live a normal lifespan
- It takes an average of six years between when a person first notices symptoms of lupus to when they receive a proper diagnosis of the disease
- More than 60 percent of people will receive at least one incorrect diagnosis during the time that they are searching for their diagnosis and 55 percent will see four or more doctors before receiving their proper diagnosis
There are some risk factors that may increase the chances that your parent will develop lupus.
- Being female
- Being of a race other than white
- Coming from a family with one or more people who already have the disease
While most people with lupus will not lose years of their life because of the disease, the symptoms and complications of it can lead to a diminished quality of life. Getting a diagnosis as early as possible can ensure that your parent gets on the course of treatment and management that is right for them so that they can cope with the disease in the best way possible. If you notice any new or unusual pain symptoms in your aging parent, including joint pain or photosensitivity, it is important that you do not ignore them. Bring them to their doctor as soon as possible so that they can get a full evaluation and a proper diagnosis. You can then help them evaluate the options when it comes to treatment and make the decisions that coordinate with their personal care and health goals.