LatinaLista — Do you know what lupus is?
If you're a woman and you don't know, you're not unlike the 80 percent of young women who said they didn't know in a recent online survey about the disease. Yet, with one out of 200 Americans contracting lupus, and 90 percent of those with the disease being women then it's something all women should know about.
And if you're a multicultural woman, then you should really know since the odds of contracting lupus are three times higher among women-of-color.
Luckily for all of us the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health is joining forces with the Ad Council in a new multimedia public service campaign educating us all on lupus.
For those who aren't entirely sure, lupus is a "chronic autoimmune disease causing the immune system to mistakenly attack the body's own healthy cells and tissue as though they were foreign invaders, such as bacteria or viruses."
If you're like me, you're still probably asking what lupus is — definitions don't tell the whole story. That's why a new bilingual website Could I Have Lupus makes understanding what the disease is all about so much clearer.
The site not only fully explains lupus, its symptoms and its treatment but features online diaries of women who are afflicted with lupus. In these diaries, the women share their daily lives living with lupus. There is also a community forum for women to share questions and answers about lupus.
The multimedia campaign to raise awareness of lupus begins today and is ongoing since there's no cure for lupus.
Without intervention, lupus can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, disability, and in many cases, death. The disease can have a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue, hair loss, painful or swollen joints, fever, skin rashes and kidney problems.
However, in the majority of people who are living with lupus, early and effective treatment can minimize symptoms, reduce inflammation and pain, help maintain normal functions and prevent the development of serious complications.
We should all do ourselves a favor and educate ourselves on lupus so that we can all say we know what it is.