Statement from the Lupus Foundation of America

What is Lupus?

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- There have been many reports and rumors in the media and on the internet, asking questions about the autoimmune disease lupus and who might be suffering from this devastating disease.

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The real question is: what is lupus? What are the debilitating effects of living with the disease? When we don't talk about the cruel mystery of lupus, we continue to keep it and those who suffer from lupus in the shadows.  We need greater awareness and understanding of lupus in order to secure the research dollars needed to discover new treatments and ultimately a cure.

Not talking about lupus does an injustice to the estimated 1.5 million Americans and more than five million people worldwide who battle its seriously baffling and isolating effects every day. For far too long lupus has been under researched and underfunded relative to its scope and impact on individuals with the disease and their families.

Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood disease in which the immune system is out of balance, causing damage to any organ system in the body. Symptoms of lupus come and go, change over time, and often imitate other illnesses, making lupus difficult to diagnose. Lupus has been incorrectly defined as a form of arthritis because people with lupus many times have joint pain and arthritic symptoms, but these are only one set of symptoms. 

Other common symptoms include joint pain, skin rashes, overwhelming fatigue, and fevers that last for days or weeks. The exact cause of lupus is unknown. While lupus can be disabling and fatal, the disease can be managed in most cases through aggressive medical treatment and lifestyle changes.

Lupus strikes without warning, affects each person differently, and has no known causes. Ninety percent of the people living with lupus are females, and the disease usually develops between ages 15 and 44.  Women of color are at an especially high risk -- African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

The Lupus Foundation of America leads the fight to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus and is the only national force devoted to solving the cruel mystery of lupus through it programs of research, education and advocacy.

To learn more about lupus and how you can Help Us Solve the Cruel Mystery™ visit www.lupus.org.

SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America



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