What Is Lupus?
Did you know lupus affects more people than sickle-cell anemia, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and cystic fibrosis COMBINED? Yet, according to the Lupus Foundation of America:
- In a nationwide poll of 1,000 adults…38% said they are somewhat or very familiar with lupus…and 22% have never heard of lupus.
- In another survey, only four of ten young adults ages 18-24 claimed to be aware of lupus, even though the disease often strikes during the childbearing years.
- While 65% of respondents to this survey claimed awareness of lupus, only 20% could correctly answer basic questions about the disease.
Lupus is a serious disease, affecting every part of the body, including major organs (e.g., heart, brain, kidneys) and skin. Lupus affects mostly women between the ages of 15-44, which makes the disease particularly cruel because it increases the chances of miscarriage. No one knows why, but the disease is “more prevalent among women of color…than among Caucasian women.” Lupus is difficult to diagnose, and it currently has no cure! Many people with lupus experience chronic pain and fatigue and are unable to work. Photosensitivity means symptoms may worsen when working under florescent lights and in front of computer monitors as well as when exposed to sunlight.
Thankfully, lupus is no longer considered a death sentence, but “between 10-15 percent of people with lupus will die prematurely due to complications of lupus.”
Why You Should Care
If you don’t have lupus, chances are you know someone who does. Oftentimes you can’t tell someone has lupus just by looking at them, giving it the nickname “The Invisible Disease.” But make no mistake: People with lupus are suffering! And whether you know someone who has lupus or have lupus yourself, we need your help.
- Help SPREAD AWARENESS by educating yourself and sharing your knowledge with everyone you know, especially during the month of May, which is Lupus Awareness Month. There are many great sources of information on the Internet, including the Lupus Foundation of America, Alliance for Lupus Research, CouldIHaveLupus.gov, and many more.
- DONATE to a lupus organization, or participate in annual walks to raise money so that better treatments can be developed and a cure can be found.
- REACH OUT. There are several lupus organizations within the U.S. devoted exclusively to research, education, and support. In addition, you can find some great lupus support groups on facebook, there is a wonderful community of “lupies” on Twitter, and check out my homepage for some recommendations for lupus-related blogs.