Why She Wears Purple: Lupus Awareness Month

Today's post comes to you from my dear friend Yadira. Up until last year, I didn't even realize she was fighting this battle. And today, I'm happy to stand with her. --- During a visit to the dermatologist, I received a diagnosis I did not expect. The doctor said, "you have discoid lupus ." From that moment my life changed completely and I didn’t know what to do. It was a terrible time in my life seeing as in 2011 I had lost my niece to this disease. As you can imagine I felt the weight of the world on me but I decided to find a solution and educate myself as much as I could. I found what I was looking for on the Lupus Foundation of America’s website and absorbed as much information as I could handle.

What Is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints and/or internal organs). Usually the autoimmune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. With lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and the body's healthy tissues and produces autoantibodies ("auto" means "self ") that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body.

What Causes Lupus?

No one knows what causes lupus. However, scientists believe that there’s involvement of hormones, genetic features (hereditary) as well as environmental causes. Hormones regulate many functions of the body. It is believed that the “sex hormone” estrogen plays a role in relation to lupus. Men and women produce estrogen but its production is much higher in women. However, that does not mean that estrogen or any other hormone specifically causes the onset of lupus.

Although not proven that any gene or group of genes causes lupus, the disease actually occurs in families or populations. And although lupus can occur in people who have lupus cases in their family history, it is possible that some family members having other autoimmune diseases. Some ethnic groups (African-Americans, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native American and Pacific Islanders) are at increased risk of developing lupus, which can be related to the genes they have in common.

You might have a genetic predisposition to lupus but scientists believe that some kind of environmental cause can trigger the disease or cause a recurrence of it:

  • UV rays from the sun or fluorescent lights
  • Sulfa and some tetracyclines, that make a person more sensitive to the sun
  • Penicillin or some other antibiotic
  • Infections
  • A cold or viral illness
  • Exhaustion
  • Trauma
  • Emotional stress
  • Any situation that causes a state of stress on the body such as surgery, accident, pregnancy or childbirth (which was my case)

This month I wear purple to raise awareness of Lupus and hope you will join my cause and dress in purple on May 16th. You can follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #LupusAwareness.

For more information visit the page on the Internet of the Lupus Foundation of America.

Helpful Resources

About the Author

YadiraYadira Ambert is the influential Latina blogger and founder of El Club de las Diosas. Her blog focuses on key issues such as education, health, contests, recipes, reviews and beauty topics, all through the eyes of a Latina woman. Yadira, a Puerto Rican mother and passionate blogger, owns Innovative Latina Media, is co-founder of Social Influenz Network, is a marketing professional and is a spokeswoman for the Hispanicize conference and Niche Parent. She has lived in Florida for almost 20 years. You can find her in the following social networks : Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, and Instagram.