May is Lupus Awareness Month and locally, the Town of Kearny lights up Town Hall purple nightly during the month – the color chosen to represent the affliction — to remind residents. But just what is Lupus?
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, Lupus is a chronic (long term) autoimmune disease that may cause pain in any part of the body. As an autoimmune disease, it “attacks healthy tissue in the body.”
It mostly affects the skin, joints and internal organs, the foundation says, but it goes well beyond those body parts. Shockingly, 9 of 10 people who suffer from Lupus are women. It develops mostly in women 15 to 44, but has a much higher incidence in the Black, Asian-American, Latino, Native-American and Pacific-Islander communities.
Other statistics, the Lupus Foundation says, include:
• Around 1.5 million Americans and 5 million worldwide suffer from Lupus.
• The symptoms of the disease are wide-ranging. According to the LFA, “people with lupus can experience significant symptoms, such as pain, extreme fatigue, hair loss, cognitive issues and physical impairments that affect every facet of their lives. Many suffer from cardiovascular disease, strokes, disfiguring rashes and painful joints. For others, there may be no visible symptoms.”
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 16,000 new cases of Lupus develop each year and 1 in 3 with it also suffer from one or more other autoimmune diseases.
• Of all, the worst statistic is that there is no cure. And, 10 to 15% of all who have it will die prematurely.
There are four types of Lupus: Systemic, which primarily affects internal organs; Cutaneous, which primary affects the skin; Drug-induced, which is brought on by high doses of certain meds; and Neonatal, which is caused, in-utero, by antibodies in the mother. It is estimated the cost to care for Lupus, annually, averages around $34,000.
Lupus is a disease many have heard of but likely know little about, unless one knows someone personally who has it. So as we continue through Lupus Awareness Month, it is our hope this small piece might be enlightening — and we certainly urge everyone to take time to learn even more.
You may do so by visiting www.lupus.org.
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.