What you should know about Lupus and how it impacts millions of people worldwide

african kings

More than 1.5 million Americans and millions of people worldwide fight Lupus every single day.

This chronic autoimmune disease is often difficult to diagnose and can create depression and a sense of isolation. While lupus is a battle often fought privately, many are taking a stand and refusing to let lupus win.

Across the nation, individuals and organizations are waging a war against this painful disease. They use their platforms to bring awareness, create a groundswell of support and raise money for lupus research.

Fight Lupus in the mainstream

In a recent episode of Ava Duvernay’s popular hit drama, Queen Sugar, the matriarch of the Bordelone family, “Aunt Vi” was diagnosed with lupus. The tale of how she comes to terms with the disease continues to unfold as Queen Sugar writers and actors shine a bright light on the difficulties faced by people living with lupus.

The well-crafted narrative conveys a message of hope as “Aunt Vi” (portrayed by Tina Lifford) is supported by her loved ones who refuse to watch her suffer in silence.

–Teen’s bone marrow transplant cures brother of sickle cell–

The statistics do not lie

The majority of people who fight lupus daily (90 percent) are female. Most develop the first signs and symptoms of the illness between the ages of 15 and 44. African-American women are three times more likely than white women to get lupus and develop severe symptoms, with as many as 1 in every 250 African-American women affected.

Men also suffer from the disease.

In people under the age 18 and over the age of 50, as many males as females have lupus. Because no two cases present exactly alike, lupus is notoriously misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis, a virus, or something else.

Celebrities are sharing their stories, too

Selena Gomez, Nick Cannon and Seal are among well-known personalities battling lupus. Snoop Dogg’s 17-year-old daughter, Cori, also has lupus along with actress Tichina Arnold’s sister, Zenay Arnold. In 2013, the Arnold sisters founded We Win Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide hope, strength and comfort to individuals, as well as the families and caregivers who support those suffering with lupus and other related autoimmune diseases.

Fighting for the cause

In Los Angeles, Lupus LA, a non-profit healthcare organization dedicated to finding the causes of and a cure for lupus while providing support, services and hope, held their annual “Hollywood Bag Ladies Luncheon,” on November 17, hosted by Paula Abdul. During the fashion-filled event, writer/producer, Emily V. Gordon who suffers from a lupus-adjacent condition, and Cara Dellaverson, NBC’s senior vice president of drama development, who was diagnosed with lupus at 19, were honored as “Women of Achievement.”

With 500 people in attendance, the luncheon raised more than $300,000 to celebrate lupus patients and fund medical research, patient services, and advocacy and awareness initiatives.

“Lupus is such a complicated disease and unfortunately, no one knows why African American women get lupus significantly more than Caucasian women, said Toby L. Berkow, Lupus LA’s Executive Director. “Treatment is very difficult and expensive because it depends so much on the individual and how their lupus presents itself. “Fortunately, there is hope with some really exciting science emerging right now and a real push in the medical research and pharmaceutical arenas to find new ways to diagnose and treat the disease. I think in the next two to three years, some major life-changing breakthroughs for lupus patients will be happening.”

For more information and to learn ways to spread hope and support the fight against lupus, please visit:

Leslie Gordon is a writer, communications strategist and creator of Get Your Sol. Follow her on Twitter @LeslieWritesNow