Looking for a new charity to support? Did you get your tax refund, and the urge to help others is burning a hole in your pocket? Consider chipping in to help the Lupus Foundation of America fight this terrible and little understood disease.
Although many people are likely aware of the disease as a kind of bogeyman from television’s House MD, lupus is a very serious autoimmune disease that can wreak severe damage to patients who develop it. Lupus causes the body’s own immune system to lose track of which entities are invasive, such as viruses, and which are supposed to be there. The result is that the immune system creates antibodies that attack the body itself, which can cause pain, inflammation, and permanent damage to organs and other tissues.
Lupus also “flares,” meaning that the effects of the disease come and go. Patients might suffer the effects of lupus only to have to go into remission for a period before striking again. Especially if someone has not yet been diagnosed with lupus, this can lead to patients thinking that they are healthy, while the disease is just waiting to come back.
It’s also a very poorly understood disease. Doctors know that it tends to strike women between 14 and 44 more often than men, that women of color are more likely to develop it, and that it isn’t contagious. The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus, and that another 16,000 cases are identified each year.
So what can you do to help? Well, you can always donate to the Lupus Foundation of America, and you can tell others about the group to help spread awareness of the disease and to help research and combat it. The Foundation helps organize numerous Walk to End Lupus Now events, and you might consider organizing such an event in your community. Anything you can do will help in the struggle to better understand and treat this terrible disease.