8 facts you need to know about lupus

Imagine if, one day, your body decided to turn on itself. Instead of keeping you healthy and fighting against infections, it started attacking healthy cells and tissues for no clear reason.

This is what it’s like to live with lupus.

The disease fights your immune system, and can damage various parts of your body, including your joints, skin or internal organs. Symptoms may come and go in “flares,” ranging from mild to life-threatening.

Despite the severity, most people don’t know much about lupus, even though millions of people around the world live with it every day.

“One of the most frustrating things about living with lupus — beyond, of course, the physical limitations — is dealing with the unintentional condescension, belittling and obnoxiousness born of misinformation and lack of information,” says writer Alexander Hardy, who was diagnosed with lupus in 2005.

Raising awareness is important to creating a culture of compassion for those with lupus that can, in turn, increase funding for potentially life-saving research. In honor of Lupus Awareness Day on Tuesday, here are eight important facts you need to know about the illness, and how you can help.

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