Alcoholism is a disease, but it’s the only one you can get yelled at for having. ‘Damn it Otto, you’re an alcoholic.’ ‘Damn it Otto, you have lupus.’ One of those two doesn’t sound right.
As Mitch Hedberg eloquently points out, lupus is a disease. In memory of the deceased comedian, I did some digging to find out the facts behind lupus. My research was further motivated by the fact that it was a requirement of the class I’m currently taking. What I discovered was part fascinating, part frightening, part enlightening, part painstakingly dull, and part dangerously cheesy.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease which is thought to have both genetic and environmental influences. It is chronic and acute and no definitive cause or cure is available. Modern developments have shed light on its genetic basis and techniques that have been popularized in the late 20th century have vastly improved the process of diagnosing and treating the disease. The effects of the disease on the nervous system and cells composing major organs are being analyzed through the cooperation of afflicted subjects and genomic sequencing is elucidating the underlying foundation of SLE. Diagnosis may now be accomplished far sooner than was possible in the last century due to an increased understanding of autoimmune function, and new monoclonal antibody studies have revealed a more effective way of restoring normal function to SLE sufferers.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about the disease is that it makes it look like you’ve been attacked by a wolf. For people who aren’t normally around wolves, this may be easy to diagnose, but for those with frequent interaction with those vicious little guys, it may be very difficult to discern whether they’ve contracted lupus or if they simply fell asleep around the wrong wolves.