Lupus: A Woman's Disease?

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Lupus: A Woman's Disease?

Females make up nine out of every 10 people afflicted with the disease

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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Autoimmune diseases are by nature complex and unpredictable. Almost always chronic, they are often life threatening. Lupus is no exception. So named by the medieval physician Rogerius because of the facial lesions that resemble wolf bites, lupus (Latin for “wolf”) can be devastating. Given that 1.5 million Americans suffer from some form of this disease, it’s clear that it has an impact on all of us.

Some sobering statistics: average annual direct care cost for flare-ups, $12,643; productivity losses, $8,654. It adds up to $31.4 billion per year in direct and indirect costs. Nothing captures the cost of opportunities lost.

Nine out of 10 afflicted are women, and two to three times more women of color suffer from lupus. Eight out of 10 newly diagnosed are women of childbearing age. At least half of all patients were sick for four years and saw three or more doctors before diagnosis. Four out of 10 continue to see at least three doctors and take at least six medications to treat their symptoms.

Even more staggering, there have been no new treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the last 50 years! That’s right, not since Eisenhower was president and no one had gone to the moon! That might well have been before you were born. 

Help increase awareness of this disease, which afflicts 5 million people worldwide.  

Lupus Foundation of America

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