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Community the Key in Fight Against Lupus: A Wellness Expert's View.

These days, more than ever, we need community. As a culture, we are experiencing higher levels of stress, greater incidence of isolation, and an increase in the prevalence of autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and others.

Slowly, we are starting to realize the connection between physiological symptoms and manifestations, and mental and emotional health.

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According to a 2016 article from the American Journal of Epidemiology, “autoimmune diseases represent a family of at least 80 illnesses that share a common pathogenesis: an immune-mediated attack on the body’s own organs. Collectively, autoimmune diseases affect some 20 million Americans, predominantly women. Many of these diseases are increasing in frequency in industrialized countries. Treatment of autoimmune diseases improved greatly during the second half of the 20th century but has been hampered because the diseases often progress before a clinical diagnosis is possible.”

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“Invisible diseases” like lupus are being overlooked due to the fact that the people who have them often appear to be normal functioning individuals. The problem is that going about life like this can lead to depression, loneliness, and anxiety that can escalate into larger-scale health problems due to the lack of awareness, recognition, and resources available.

In a study published in 2018, results found that depression and anxiety in lupus are influenced by a complicated mix of biological, social, and psychological factors. This study discovered that fatigue severity, relationship satisfaction, and interleukin-10 concentrations (which are predictors of inflammation) are indicators of depression in lupus patients, with fatigue and relationship satisfaction being the best predictors of depression.

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