Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My take on the Royal Pains Lupus Story Line

I am a big fan of the show "Royal Pains" on the USA Network. I was behind a couple of weeks when the show aired where the character with Lupus died, but I saw many posts from others in the Lupus community that were upset that they had shown a character with Lupus die. So here is my take:

As I watched the show (the story line was approx 5 episodes long), I was happy to see a Lupus story line that didn't use Lupus as a joke or something that was so mysterious they only explained it with severe exhaustion and a rash across the face.

I watched as the character heard the news, and dismissed it as if it was nothing. It was interesting to watch as it went through the episodes where he didn't really listen to his doctors, or ignored the care his friends wanted to give him. We have all been there, right? We get the news that we have this disease and we say that we can ignore it. We see our friends start to look at us differently and we tell them that we are fine when we aren't. We ignore the treatment our doctor is suggesting because it isn't really that bad.

I will admit that when the character died, I cried. It was so hard to watch. To sit and think "I have what he has". But I am glad that USA chose to show a side of Lupus that many other platforms don't. Yes the majority of Lupus patients will die of a Lupus complication. Yes, we will be hospitalized at some point. So let's show the world. If we are going to raise awareness let's do it right. I really think House has played a worse roll in raising awareness for Lupus than Royal pains did.

I will also admit that I laid awake for a long time afterwards disturbed by what I saw. My husband was with me as we watched it and he was really a rock for me at that point.

Sometimes reality is hard, but you know what, it's reality. And if we don't face what is ahead of us our lives maybe drastically changed because we didn't plan ahead (Or do that treatment we weren't prepaired to accept).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lupus and Genetics (Guest Blogger)

Written by Jenna Walters
Lupus is a disease where the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissue, causing inflammation and damage to the skin, kidneys, lungs, heart and blood. A normal, healthy immune system functions as a defense against viruses and bacteria, however, Lupus confuses the system so that it is unable to distinguish between healthy tissue and antigens. Lupus is prevalent in those of northern European descent, blacks and particularly in women aged 15 to 45.

Is Lupus Linked to Genetics?

Leading experts believe that genetics is a definite factor in the development of Lupus. The basic theory is people with Lupus often have a close relative with the disease, while a small percentage of children who are born to parents with the disease will inherit it. Furthermore, studies have shown genetic makeup plays a role in the disease, as Identical twins are more likely to be at risk for Lupus than fraternal twins are.

The Role of Genetic Research

Researchers have identified a number of genes that are associated with Lupus in women and continue to make breakthroughs with further studies for isolating other genes that are likely to cause the disease. Technology has enabled researchers to examine more closely the genetics of various ethnic groups and the way in which other factors as onset and complications of Lupus are predetermined by genetic variances.

In the future, scientists envision specific genetic clues that will reveal which conditions a patient is more likely to be at risk for as well as the correlation between Lupus genes and other autoimmune diseases. Much like a plethora of other diseases, such as peritoneal mesothelioma, there is no known cure for Lupus, though genetic research teams will soon be able to develop effective strategies for treating the disease and preventing systematic damage with debilitating complications.

Treating Lupus

Anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs and corticosteroids are commonly used drugs for controlling mild or moderate Lupus symptoms, while immunosuppressive medications are recommended for severe cases. In addition to drugs, doctors advise patients to take care of themselves to reduce the severity of symptoms by engaging in a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, a balanced diet, protection from direct sunlight and reduction of stress.

Jenna Walters is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer interested in health and wellness. She is especially interested in touching people’s lives through her writing. Jenna also enjoys kayaking, hiking, and reading.