Gift Lupus Foundation, a Non-governmental organisation, has called on Nigerians to go for regular Lupus screening for healthy living.
Dr Lovette Ikongo, the Founder/CEO of the foundation, who made the call in Abuja, said regular screening exercises and early detection would help to treat and reduce Lupus disease in an individual.
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According to her, Lupus is a disease that occurs when one’s body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs, adding that inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems.
She said Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments and the most distinctive sign of lupus is a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks.
Miss Sharon Orevba, who suffers from the condition, also advised regular Lupus screening.
“I was diagnosed with Lupus in 2016 but I had been experiencing symptoms long before my diagnosis. It started with palpitations, my heart would beat so hard I’d feel like it was about to jump out of my chest, then came chest pains and breathlessness.
“At some point, they suspected a bacteria infection and later rheumatoid arthritis. At this point, my symptoms had gotten worse. In addition to the other symptoms, I also had a fever, butterfly rash, mouth ulcers and light sensitivity (my skin kept burning in the sun and turning black).
“Finally, a doctor I visited conferred with another one and he told me he suspected Lupus. I was referred to see a rheumatologist and in December 2016 I was diagnosed with systemic Lupus Erythematosus ( Lupus).
“The years before my diagnosis were the worse part of having Lupus. I wish someone I shared what I was going through had heard about Lupus or one of the many doctors I saw were familiar enough with Lupus so my diagnosis would have been fast and easy.
“That is why I am not silent about my experience because I hope to spare someone out there the same pain I went through by sharing my Lupus story.”