May Is Lupus Awareness Month

May is nearly over, but the fight to raise awareness about lupus isn’t. Despite the fact that 1.5 million Americans have this potentially fatal autoimmune disease, the public remains largely unaware of its life-changing and often disabling effects.

What is lupus?

Lupus causes the immune system to attack the body’s tissue and cells, leading to unpredictable bouts of illness and symptoms such as fatigue and joint pain. Because symptoms can vary drastically from patient to patient, lupus can be difficult to diagnose. Patients sometimes spend years suffering from unexplained symptoms before finally receiving treatment.

Is lupus disabling?

Two-thirds of lupus patients report losing part or all of their income because they can no longer work full-time, according to the Lupus Foundation of America. One-third have been temporarily disabled by the disease.

While lupus affects everyone differently, the Social Security Administration does consider it a potentially disabling illness, with specific criteria to be met in order to obtain disability benefits. Because getting approved for Social Security disability takes time, it’s a good idea to apply as soon as you and your doctor determine you are disabled. Learn more about applying for Social Security disability.

What can I do?

Lupus patients recently received a breakthrough with the first approved treatment in 52 years; however, the search for a cure is far from over. During the month of May, advocates for lupus research are fighting to raise public awareness of the disease to help fund future research.  Finding support is also important. Oregon and Portland-area residents may want to check out this helpful blog: