Written by Kim Cordell | Product Development Administrator, European Medical Journal | @EMJ_Kim
This May, EMJ has proudly showcased its support for World Lupus Day, Sun Awareness Week, and Make May Purple.
Organised by the World Lupus Federation, World Lupus Day took place on the 10th of May 2018 as an opportunity to enhance awareness of lupus and the impact the disease has on >5 million people across the globe.1 While in a ‘healthy’ individual the immune system is able to recognise the difference between healthy tissues and ‘foreign invaders’ that can cause harm, in lupus the immune system is unable to recognise this difference, leading to the creation of autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. When this occurs, the autoantibodies can damage various parts of the body, affecting the skin, joints, and/or organs, which can be debilitating for and lead to symptoms lasting anything from weeks to years.1 World Lupus Day called for those living with the disease to come together to highlight the need for increased research into the causes of disease and the development of a cure, while also recognising the need for more data on lupus globally and for improved patient care.
May has also played host to Sun Awareness Week, this year running from 14th–20th May. To encourage the British public to become more aware of the dangers associated with the sun, 2018 sees the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) launch their first ‘Don’t Bake’ baking campaign,2 calling on the nation to bake treats in the oven as opposed to their skin in the sun, in a fight against skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the UK.2 With >15,000 new cases of melanoma and an estimated 210,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer occurring every year in the UK,3 it’s clear that the UK government and health services have a long way to go to educate the public further about sun safety and ultraviolet (UV) light exposure; for example, 86% of melanoma cases in the UK are related to too much preventable UV exposure.3 The next time you consider using that sunbed to get a ‘healthy glow’, remember the health of your skin and get baking in the kitchen instead of inside that tanning booth.
Last but by no means least, Make May Purple, organised by the Stroke Association, provided an opportunity for members of the public to show their support for those affected by stroke. This annual awareness campaign, which runs throughout the month of May, encourages people to fundraise, reminding us that “feeling yourself again after a stroke can be a very long and difficult journey. […] But with the right support, stroke survivors can begin to regain their independence and find new ways to get their lives back on track.”4
Occurring when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, a stroke can affect individuals in different ways, normally affecting:5
- Movement, because of muscle weakness.
- Communication skills, where part of the brain may have been damaged and is no longer able to complete specific tasks.
- Tiredness and fatigue, due to the recovery process of the individual, which can take up a lot of energy.
With a stroke occurring every 5 minutes in the UK, educate yourself on the warning signs of a stroke using the FAST test:6
- Face: Can the person smile? Has their face fallen on one side?
- Arms: Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?
- Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Is their speech slurred?
- Time: If you see any of these three signs, it’s time to call 999.
May 2018 has proved to be an eventful month here at EMJ and we are all excited to see what June and the rest of the year has in store.
- World Lupus Day. About Lupus Day. Available at: http://www.worldlupusday.org/about-us.html. Last accessed: 10 May 2018.
- British Association of Dermatologists. The ‘Don’t Bake’ Bake, Summer 2018. Available at: https://www.thedontbakebake.com/. Last accessed: 10 May 2018.
- British Association of Dermatologists. About Skin Cancer. Available at: https://www.thedontbakebake.com/about.html. Last accessed: 10 May 2018.
- Stroke Association. Make May Purple. Available at: https://www.stroke.org.uk/get-involved/fundraising/make-may-purple#What%20is%20Make%20May%20Purple%20for%20stroke. Last accessed: 10 May 2018.
- Stroke Association. Effects of Stroke. Available at: https://www.stroke.org.uk/what-is-stroke/effects-of-stroke. Last accessed: 10 May 2018.
- Stroke Association. What are the Symptoms of Stroke? Available at: https://www.stroke.org.uk/what-is-stroke/what-are-the-symptoms-of-stroke#FAST%20test. Last accessed: 10 May 2018.