Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What Is Lupus And How You Can Help

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Chronic means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years. In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs ("foreign invaders," like the flu). Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from these invaders. Autoimmune means your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues ("auto" means "self") and creates autoantibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.

Lupus is also a disease of flares (the symptoms worsen and you feel ill) and remissions (the symptoms improve and you feel better). Lupus can range from mild to life-threatening and should always be treated by a doctor. With good medical care, most people with lupus can lead a full life.

Research estimates that at least 1.5 million Americans have lupus. The actual number may be higher; however, there have been no large-scale studies to show the actual number of people in the U.S. living with lupus. It is believed that 5 million people throughout the world have a form of lupus. Lupus strikes mostly women of childbearing age (15-44). However, men, children, and teenagers develop lupus, too. Women of color are 2-3 times more likely to develop lupus.People of all races and ethnic groups can develop lupus.More than 16,000 new cases of lupus are reported annually across the country. There is no cure for lupus and in rare forms there is so much organ failure because of the disease that the it is fatal.  However, most people do not require hospitalization and can live a fairly normal life if they follow their physician's instructions.  (Lupus Foundation of America).  

I have a dear friend who suffers from lupus and I am starting to help her raise funds for the Foundation.  She is participating in a walk/run coming up in the next month.  I will be hosting a jewelry party for her where 15% of the profits will go towards the Foundation.  I am also selling some awareness bracelets online in my shoppe.  Here is a sample bracelet.  It can be purchased with or without the awareness ribbon.

Thanks for taking a look and helping out this great cause!