Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain. Normally the body’s immune system makes proteins called antibodies, to protect the body against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign materials. These foreign materials are called antigens.
In an autoimmune disorder like lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then makes antibodies directed against itself. These antibodies — called “auto-antibodies” (auto means ‘self’) cause inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body.
For most people, lupus is a mild disease affecting only a few organs. For others, it may cause
serious and even life-threatening problems. Although epidemiological data on lupus is limited, studies suggest that more than 16,000 Americans develop lupus each year.
The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) estimates 2 million Americans have a form of lupus, but the actual number may be higher. More than 90 percent of people with lupus are women. Symptoms and diagnosis occur most often when women are in their child-bearing years, between the ages of 15 and 45. 10% of lupus warriors are men and children are also affected.
In the United States, lupus is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans than in Caucasians.
Lupus Research Information
The Lupus Research Institute reports “Lupus is one of America’s least recognized major diseases. Almost 2 million Americans one out of every 185 have lupus. In fact, more Americans have lupus than cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, sickle-cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, or AIDS, making it one of this country’s most prevalent medical problems.”
However, while lupus is widespread, awareness and accurate knowledge about it lag behind many other illnesses. Lupus is on the rise, and scientists don’t know exactly why.
The research, information and/or answers provided on this site are not meant to be used as a substitute for Professional Medical advice. Information is gathered from several sources via the internet and print and may differ from your physician’s advice. The information provided and presented is for educational purposes and to support visitors in the quest to learn more about a most silent disease. Being a lupus warrior can be a lonely and misunderstood disease and we want to help those affected to lessen those feelings.