May Is Lupus Awareness Month, by Lisa Ross

Lupus ButterflyWe may know someone who has lupus but many and most at risk for this chronic disease know very little about it.  Known as “American’s Least Known Major Disease”, an estimated 1.4 to 2 million Americans have been diagnosed with lupus. It is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the body’s healthy tissues and organs.  It can attack virtually any major organ or tissue in the body including kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, skin, and joints.  It is often difficult to diagnose and mimics other diseases which quite often leads to delayed treatment.  The cause of the disease is unknown, yet with early diagnosis and proper treatment, the symptoms of the disease can be managed which lessens the chance for permanent damage.

Lupus can occur in men, women and children, but mostly manifests in women between the ages of 15 to 44.  African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American women are more likely to develop the disease.  May is the time to raise national awareness to the warning signs and symptoms of Lupus.  The most common symptoms you need to be aware of are:

            – Skin Rashes
            – Achy or Swollen Joints
            – Hair Loss
            – Fever           
            – Fatigue
            – Sun Sensitivity
            – Anemia
            – Mouth or Nose Ulcers
            – Seizures

During the month of May, lupus patients and supporters throughout the country are rallying to raise public awareness and gain support for an increase in funding for lupus education and research programs.  In recognition of Lupus Awareness Month, The Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania sponsored a “Meet & Greet” Event on May 10th at The Good Shepherd Health & Technology Center in Allentown.  Lupus patients and family members met representatives from the Lupus Foundation of PA to discuss patient needs and planning for future lupus education and wellness programs here in the Lehigh Valley.  For more information regarding Lehigh Valley support, contact Lisa Ross at 610 533-9586 or jlross4@ptd.net.  The Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania provides comprehensive patient services and is devoted to promoting awareness, education and research for those affected by lupus.  For up-to-date information about lupus or to learn how you can help, visit the website at lupuspa.org or call 1-800-800-5776.