Hyderabad, 10 May 2019: As part of World Lupus Day on May 10th, for the first time in Asia Lupus Ramp Walk’ was organised at Hyderabad. 40 lupus patients participated in the ramp walk. Almost 300 people from different walks of life made their presence felt. The concept was the brainchild of Dr. Sarath Chandra Mouli Veeravalli, Clinical Director of the Rheumatology department, KIMS Hospitals as part of his Landmark SELP project to beat the Lupus Stigma in the society.
Prof G Narsimulu, Formerly HOD, Rheumatology dept, NIMS and Ex-President of Indian Rheumatology Association along with Dr Purnima Nagaraja, Senior Psychiatrist, Dhrithi Psysciatry Care who is a lupus patient too graced the event. Along with this Rheumatologists Dr Rajkiran, Dr Varaprasad and Dr Dheeraj also participated.
Highlighting the motto of the Lupus Ramp Walk, Dr. Sarath Chandra Mouli Veeravalli stated, “We are happy for these patients who won over lupus. We are conducting such a ramp walk for the first time in Asia. This event will not only increase the awareness of Lupus in the community, but will empower confidence in Lupus patients and beat the stigma around this disease.”
16 year old Ananya Polisetty gracefully walked the ramp. Overwhelmed with this move Shubha Polisetty, Ananya’s mother, expressed her feelings and said, “The Lupus Ramp Walk by KIMS on World Lupus Day is well timed and an interesting, innovative idea to an otherwise little understood disorder. As parents of our 16 year old daughter Ananya, who was diagnosed with juvenile SLE (a form of Lupus) when she was 3 years old, the journey has been a roller coaster of coming to terms with Lupus and that there is no cure for it, its ramifications, multiple flare ups and complications. What helps Ananya is regular visits to doctors, physical exercises like basketball, swimming, yoga and physio therapy twice a week. Regular meditation also calms her down and makes her ready to take on the world.”
Steffie Gonsalvez, restaurateur and a brave Lupus warrior since 2009 also walked the ramp and said, "I am honoured to be part of the Butterfly Project ‘The Lupus Ramp Walk’. I want to share a message to my fellow lupus warriors that I might not know who you are but I know what you're going through and I want you to be able to live and not just survive. I urge you to come forward and seek the medical assistance you require. Remember, Lupus might slow you down but can't stop you!”
The event received an overwhelming response not only by the participants but also by the doctors community.Reports state that every day, more than 5 million people worldwide struggle with the often debilitating health consequences of lupus. Sharing insights about the same, Dr Sarath Chandra Mouli mentioned, “Lupus is seen in 1 in a 1000 people, and 9 out of 10 affected patients are women. The most affected age group is between 15 - 45 years (reproductive age), but it can affect little children too. It may take more than 3 years to see a rheumatologist due to lack of awareness both in the public and among doctors.”
Breaking the myth about Lupus, Dr Sarath Chandra Mouli stated that people have a lot of myths about Lupus such as lack of treatment options, that one cannot have a regular work life, one cannot study, get married or conceive, etc. With the latest treatment modalities one can lead a normal life, but early diagnosis and treatment will make a world of difference.
While lupus knows no boundaries, knowing all you can about lupus can help control its impact. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease. It is also called as SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years. In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs ("foreign invaders," like the flu). Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders. Autoimmune means your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues ("auto" means "self") and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.
It is commonly present as arthritis (joint pains and swellings). This disease can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). The common symptoms are severe hair loss, red rashes on cheeks (butterfly rashes), recurrent mouth ulcers, joint pains, excessing tanning of skin, low blood counts. If it is not identified early it may affect other internal organs like kidneys (lupus nephritis), lungs (lung fibrosis, fluid around lungs), heart (myocarditis, heart failure), brain and nervous system.