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If You Felt Like She Does On Good Days, You'd Call In Sick
Caroline Gort rarely feels well. But for her, the hardest thing about the diagnosis of lupus was the word 'incurable.'
By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
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Living with lupus means struggling with a whole host of symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, weight gain, and heart disease. But for Caroline Gort, the hardest part about learning she had lupus, was knowing she would never get better.
“Our brains are hardwired to assume if we get sick, we get better,” she said.
But that doesn’t mean lupus can’t be treated. In fact, the treatments have come a long way. Decades ago, most people with lupus died within five years. Today survival rates are much longer, though the medications have side effects, including an increase in appetite.
Lupus is one of the many auto-immune diseases which have been increasing recently. These are diseases in which the immune system turns on the body’s own tissues. Lupus can affect any organ including the skin, brain, kidneys, and heart. Women are far more susceptible than men.
Vaidehi Chowdhar, MD, a rheumatologist at Mayo Clinic, says women with lupus in the 30-45 age group are at 50 times greater risk of having a heart attack than women their age who don’t have lupus.
But new research is raising hopes. A new drug was just approved for lupus in 2011, the first in 50 years, and another is in trials.
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