There are 13 days left in May, and 13 days left of my Lupus Awareness Month fundraiser.
For the final 13 days, here are 13 Lupus facts:
13. There are an estimated 1.5 million Americans currently living with lupus. That is approximately 1 out of every 220 people.
12. Lupus has no known cause and no known cure. There seems to be a genetic predisposition for Lupus, but genes alone do not determine who develops it. Researchers believe that many factors trigger the disease.
11. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body’s immune system attacks otherwise healthy tissue including joints, muscles, and skin. Lupus also has potential to do serious damage to major organs such as heart and kidneys.
10. Lupus is difficult to diagnose. People with Lupus experience symptoms differently, and the symptoms often mimic other diseases. It takes an average of six years from onset of symptoms and four different health care providers to accurately diagnose Lupus.
9. First degree relatives (parents, siblings, or children) of people living with Lupus have a six-times greater likelihood of developing the disease.
8. The average annual direct and indirect costs incurred by a person with Lupus can exceed $21,000. This is a higher average cost of illness per person than for rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, or asthma.
7. In a recent Lupus Foundation survey, more than half of people with Lupus report that their symptoms have limited their ability to work full-time. Additionally, nearly 3/4 of caregivers report that caring for someone with Lupus impacts their work productivity.
6. Sensitivity to ultraviolet light, which is present in both sunlight and artificial light, affects as many as two thirds of individuals with lupus. Photosensitivity may cause fever, debilitating fatigue, joint pain, rashes and other symptoms.
5. People with lupus take on average nearly eight prescription medications to manage all of their medical conditions including lupus.
4. Nearly 3 in 4 people with lupus surveyed (76 percent) said fatigue limits their ability to participate in social activities.
3. About half of all people with lupus will experience a serious infection during the course of their disease.
2. As many as 60 percent of people with lupus will experience some type of memory problem, such as recalling names, dates, and appointments, or balancing a checkbook.
1. With current methods of therapy, 80 to 90 percent of people with non-organ threatening lupus can look forward to having the same lifespan as people without lupus.
For more information about my Lupus Awareness Month fundraiser, please visit support.lupus.org/goto/elfinjoy.