Jun. 13, 2017

Taking Control of Your Health: Why Lupus Awareness Matters

By Maggie Maloney

We just wrapped up another successful Lupus Awareness Month! It always generates excitement among the lupus community. I love seeing the photos of everyone decked out in purple, the stories shared on social media, and what people are doing in their communities to raise awareness and funds for lupus research.

In my work at the Lupus Foundation of America, I have spoken to many people with lupus over the years. One of the most consistent and heartbreaking themes across many of the stories is the often difficult and challenging road to diagnosis that many people experience.

There are many reasons lupus is difficult to diagnose, and it can often take years. Low public awareness and understanding of the disease contribute to this. Our surveys have shown that those who are at greatest risk for lupus know little to nothing about the disease beyond the name. This is important because a person may not realize that the symptoms they are experiencing could be lupus, or how to talk to their doctor about it. 

If we are going to change the future for people with lupus, awareness must be a consistent, year-round effort. It cannot be a day, month or a week.

That’s why, we are excited to continue the momentum and give you a sneak peak at our new Be Fierce. Take Control. awareness campaign that will be officially launched later this week. The campaign was developed in partnership with the American College of Rheumatology and supported by a Cooperative Agreement funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is designed to educate and empower young African American and Latino women, who are most at-risk for developing lupus.

The impact of lupus on young minority women cannot be ignored. Lupus is two to three times more prevalent among women of color. Not only are there higher instances of lupus cases among these women, the impact of the disease is often more severe.

Young African American and Latino women need to understand how they can take control of their health and know that if they are feeling “off”, it could be a sign of something more serious.

The digitally-led campaign reaches young women through social media, video, and celebrity and influencer engagement. We want to educate this audience about the signs and symptoms of lupus and what to do if lupus is suspected. Our ultimate goal is to reduce the time to diagnosis and get these young women treated earlier, which is critical to preventing long-term consequences of the disease.

You can also play an important role in this campaign. We are asking you to join us in raising awareness by sharing the Be Fierce.Take Control. campaign website with your friends and family. You can also download social media graphics and messages (.zip file) from the campaign website.

More importantly, if you know anyone who is experiencing symptoms that could be lupus, urge them to take control of their health and talk to their doctor. We look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks and months.

To learn more visit, befiercetakecontrol.org