It seems like recently I have been hearing a lot about the illness lupus. I wasn’t very familiar with it but I repeatedly heard about it via advertisements and television. I’m not sure how many people are aware of this illness but it is greatly affecting Black women. I think that the Black community should be informed about this. So with that being said, I just wanted to take the time out to share the info I found about this illness.
According to lupus.us.com:
Lupus erythematosus is a chronic, inflammatory, multisystem disorder of the immune system. In lupus, the body develops antibodies that react against the person’s own normal tissue. Lupus is thus an autoimmune disease. These antibodies are markers for lupus, and are one indicator of many immune system abnormalities that lead to clinical manifestations. The course is unpredictable and individualized; no two patients are alike. Lupus is not contagious, infectious, or malignant.
Lupus can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain. Although people with the disease may have many different symptoms, some of the most common ones include extreme fatigue, painful or swollen joints (arthritis), unexplained fever, skin rashes, and kidney problems.Lupus varies greatly in severity, from mild cases requiring minimal intervention to those in which significant and potentially fatal damage occurs to vital organs such as the lungs, heart, kidneys, and brain.
Lupus is 9x more common in women than men. Lupus is three times more common in African American women than in Caucasian women and is also more common in women of Hispanic, Asian, and Native American descent. In addition, lupus can run in families, but the risk that a child or a brother or sister of a patient will also have lupus is still quite low. Lupus is most frequently diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 45.
The cause of lupus is unknown, but it has been associated with genetic, environmental, and infectious causes.
One study showed that geographical location may be associated with causes for lupus among Black women. Other studies have shown that people who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods have more health problems than those who live in middle-class neighborhoods. There are high levels of stress in most Black communities due to the lack of resources, employment and lower incomes for families among other things.
Over the years, the death rates for lupus are the highest that they’ve been and have increased the most among Black women. Black women tend to develop this disease earlier on in life and have more severe symptoms.
Recently, stars like singer Toni Braxton and celebrity publicist Toi Troutman have come forward to discuss their struggles with this autoimmune disease and are advocates for awareness.
Have you or someone that you know been effected by lupus?