Don’t despair, help is at hand. That is the message for National Lupus Awareness Month from a support group for Fylde coast residents suffering from the auto-immune condition.
Lupus causes the body’s own immune system to attack itself - causing joint pain, swelling, rashes and fatigue, among other symptoms.
Val Wilson, herself a Lupus sufferer and secretary of the North West Lupus Group, wants to raise awareness of the support available.
Val, who lives in Staining, suffers from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and was diagnosed 12 years ago.
The condition means the body’s defence mechanism begins to attack itself though an excess of antibodies in the blood stream. Lupus can be relatively mild, through to serious, where it can cause damage to the internal organs and even in some cases, can be fatal.
Val said she wanted people to know they were not alone and the group could help.
She added: “We have a small group of long-standing members, but recently we welcomed a group of new people, who have struggled to get a diagnosis and are now keen to learn how to incorporate this long-term illness into their lifestyle.
“Other than medication, one of the best therapies for a person with Lupus is to meet up with other patients to swap coping strategies.
“Every case of Lupus is different, the unpredictably of symptoms make it difficult to plan ahead. With the help of publications by Lupus UK, we can learn as much as is known about our disease, so we can pace ourselves to keep as normal a life as is possible.”
Lupus UK has produced a new poster conveying the message the symptoms of Lupus can be invisible and while a person can look perfectly healthy on the outside, beneath the surface they can be very fragile.
The next meeting of the Blackpool and District Group will take place on October 25, 11am until 12.30pm, at Strikes Garden Centre, New Lane, Carleton. Anyone is welcome.