World Lupus Day: Foundation tasks Nigerians on regular screening

Gift Lupus Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, has called on Nigerians
to go for regular Lupus screening for healthy living.

Dr Lovette Ikongo, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the foundation, made the call in an interview
with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja, to commemorate the 2022 World Lupus Day.

NAN reports that World Lupus Day is annually observed around the globe on May 10 to raise awareness about the disease.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause damage to virtually any part of the body, making the immune system to
malfunction. It cannot tell the difference between pathogens and healthy tissue and creates antibodies that attack and destroy
healthy tissues.

Depending on if Lupus is mild, moderate or severe, it can cause inflammation of the joints, skin and even vital organs, while
severe case of the disease can cause irreversible damage to the heart, lungs, brain or kidneys.

The NGO founder, who said lupus disease is difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic
those of other ailments, added that “regular screening and early detection will help to treat and reduce cases of the disease.

“This is because the most distinctive sign of lupus is facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly on both cheeks.

“I was diagnosed with lupus in 2016 but experienced symptoms long before my diagnosis. It started with palpitation, where
my heart would beat so hard I’d feel like it was about to jump out of my chest.

“The tests came out clean so the doctors thought it might be ulcer since I had passed the age of having asthma, the drugs
didn’t work so I was miserable until one day it just stopped.

“Years passed like that until my second year at the university, about four weeks to examination when I started having joint pains and
headaches and I went for malaria test, not knowing that it was lupus as I was consequently diagnosed.”

Ikongo, therefore, urged the medical community to conduct mass education and sensitisation on lupus disease to save lives. (NAN)