Lupus awareness campaign aims to reach Latinas and Black women
Goal of new LFA effort to help young women recognize lupus symptoms
The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) has launched a new awareness campaign to help Black/African American and Hispanic/Latina women recognize the signs and symptoms of lupus.
Dubbed “Be Fierce. Take Control,” the digital awareness campaign especially aims to reach young, undiagnosed women among this population, among whom lupus is 2-3 times more prevalent.
Women experiencing common lupus symptoms — including joint pain and swelling, extreme exhaustion, facial rash, or recurrent sores in the mouth — are encouraged to talk with their healthcare providers. Those who are uncertain about the symptoms they are experiencing also may complete an interactive questionnaire called Could It Be Lupus? to learn more about the chronic immune system disorder.
Awareness campaign seeking to reduce time to a lupus diagnosis
Funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the campaign’s primary goal is to reduce the time to diagnosis, which typically takes about six years on average from symptom onset.
“Six months prior to my diagnosis, I had recurring skin infections and a rash across my cheeks that I mistook for sunburn. I was also experiencing hair loss and body swelling. I was finally diagnosed with lupus nephritis after an ER visit, three doctors visits and a kidney biopsy,” Selena Colon, a campaign ambassador, said in a foundation press release.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease marked by abnormal immune attacks on healthy tissue that result in a wide range of symptoms. The condition can impact many parts of the body, including the skin, joints, brain, heart, and lungs. It also may affect the kidneys, leading to a condition known as lupus nephritis.
People with lupus can experience flare-ups, or episodes of sudden symptom worsening. Flare-ups are usually followed by periods of remission, in which symptoms ease or disappear.
Early diagnosis and treatment are needed to prevent tissue damage and improve quality of life. Still, lupus can be challenging to diagnose because it affects each person differently, and its symptoms mimic those of many other illnesses.
Women experiencing symptoms are encouraged to visit the campaign website and learn more about lupus. They also can find suggestions for how to talk to their healthcare provider.
Not knowing what my future holds worries me sometimes, but I prioritize my health and take control of the condition and the effects it has on me. ‘Be Fierce. Take Control.’ is my personal slogan as well.
The website has been rebranded with imagery of women living with lupus and those with a personal connection to the disorder. It also features the testimonies of women like Colon sharing details of their personal lupus journey.
“Not knowing what my future holds worries me sometimes, but I prioritize my health and take control of the condition and the effects it has on me. ‘Be Fierce. Take Control.’ is my personal slogan as well,” Colon said.