Monday, May 1, 2017

Lupus Awareness Month

Today is a special day for me because it marks the start of Lupus Awareness Month. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body, skin, joints, organs or combo of all three. Something causes the immune system to go haywire and start attacking and destroying healthy tissue. There are a whole host of symptoms for lupus, but it affects everyone differently, thus making it incredibly difficult to treat. 

I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 18 years old and it's radically changed my life. Throughout the month of May I will be sharing different parts of my journey with lupus, while trying to provide a broad overview of this cruel disease because many people have never heard of lupus. 

To kick off Lupus Awareness Month I wanted to share 10 little known facts about lupus. I also want to encourage you to wear purple on Friday May 19th to support those living this with cruel disease. 

1. Lupus is most commonly diagnosed in women usually between the ages of 15 and 44. Men can develop lupus too, but women have a significantly higher chance of developing the disease.  

2. There are four types of lupus- systemic, cutaneous, drug-induced, and neonatal lupus. Drug induced lupus and neonatal lupus are not true forms of lupus and usually disappear within a few months. 

3. Systemic lupus is incurable and cases range from mild to life threatening. 

4. Any/all organs can be affected by lupus. It can also affects joints and tissues in the body causing other diseases.

5. more than 16,000 new cases of lupus are diagnosed across the United States every year. 

6. In no way shape or form is lupus contagious. You cannot catch lupus or give someone lupus. 

7. Large scale research has never been done, but it is believed that there approximately 1.5 million Americans living with lupus. The number could be much higher as lupus is incredibly difficult to diagnose and is often misdiagnosed. 

8. Lupus is two to three times more common in women of African American decent than it is Caucasians. 

9. A study conducted in 2008 estimated the average cost for a lupus patient in health care and lost productivity is over $20,000. 
     *I guarantee those numbers are significantly higher in 2017 as medical costs have risen drastically and the numbers can vary greatly depending on the course of treatment needed. If chemo is needed to suppress the immune system the cost can be 3-4 times that much.

10. 73% of American between 18-34 have never heard of lupus, which is problematic because this is the age group that is most at risk for developing the disease. 

Sources: The Lupus Foundation of America: What is Lupus and The Lupus Foundation of America: Lupus Facts and Statistics

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