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A look into History: Why is Lupus called Lupus?

Updated: Apr 18

Lupus - a name that many don't understand or have even heard. Have you ever wondered about why the disease Lupus is called Lupus?

  1. Ancient Roots: The name "lupus" finds its roots in ancient mythology. In Roman mythology, Lupus was the name given to the wolf, a revered and feared creature associated with various legends and folklore. The Romans believed that Lupus, the wolf, had mystical powers and was often depicted in art and literature.

  2. Observations in Medicine: The association between Lupus and wolves found its way into the realm of medicine. In the 19th century, physicians observed skin lesions resembling wolf bites in patients with a particular form of lupus, known as discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE). These lesions often left scars reminiscent of a wolf's mark, further reinforcing the connection to the creature.

3. Lupus Erythematosus:

The term "lupus" was officially incorporated into medical terminology with the description of Lupus Erythematosus by the Austrian dermatologist, Moritz Kaposi, in the late 19th century. The name Lupus Erythematosus, meaning "red wolf" in Latin, was chosen to describe the distinctive facial rash characteristic of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

4. Symbolism and Significance:

Beyond its roots, the name Lupus carries symbolic significance in the context of autoimmune disease. Like the mythical wolf, lupus is a condition that can manifest in various forms and affect multiple organ systems, often with unpredictable flare-ups and remissions.

Furthermore, the lupus community has embraced the symbolism of the wolf as a representation of strength, resilience, and unity. Just as the wolf survives and thrives in the face of adversity, individuals living with lupus demonstrate remarkable courage and fortitude in navigating the challenges posed by their condition.

From its ancient roots in Roman mythology to its modern-day significance in the realm of autoimmune disease, the term "Lupus" carries layers of symbolism and meaning.

As we unravel the origins of this name, let us also reflect on the resilience and strength embodied by the Lupus community. Just like the wolf, individuals living with Lupus have courage, adaptability, and a fierce determination to thrive despite the odds.

So, the next time you hear the word "Lupus," remember its past and the powerful symbolism it holds. And may it serve as a reminder of the spirit that resides within each one of us, ready to face whatever challenges come our way.

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