Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
(BLACK PR WIRE/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE) – One disease lies dormant in the conversions of the African-American community, which is lupus. Over the years, there has been an increased amount of black women being diagnosed with lupus. The causes of this disease are unknown, which makes it harder to treat.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has defined systemic lupus erythematosus as an autoimmune disease in which the immune system produces antibodies to cells within the body, leading to extensive swelling and tissue damage.
There is very little talk about this disease amongst black women in the community. With more awareness about the disease and its symptoms, black women can prevent themselves from becoming a victim of it. According to the CDC, “Between 1979 and 1998, death rates from S.L.E. increased nearly 70 percent among black women between the ages of 45 and 64 years.”
Some of the women in this age range are single black mothers. The disease not only affects them, but their children as well. Allison Williams, a 20-year-old African-American college student at Keiser University, found herself going on the internet to research lupus after her mother was diagnosed.
“My mom was diagnosed with lupus at the beginning of 2010. I was afraid because I had never heard of it before. When I researched the disease, it said it may cause death. Luckily, she was not diagnosed with that type of lupus,” said Williams. “She was diagnosed with the type that only affected her skin, where she has rashes on her hands and feet.”
Other types of lupus are cutaneous or skin lupus erythematosus, which affects the skin, and drug-induced lupus which is cause by the use of certain medicines.
“Women living with the disease may experience fatigue, pain or swelling in joints, skin rashes, and fevers,” according to the CDC. “Some of the symptoms may be mild or severe enough to cause death.” According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2009, about 90 percent of the women diagnosed are African-American.
Black women have become a major target for this disease because of the lack of compliance to healthcare treatment recommendations, according to a report published by the CDC.
There is continuous research that is being done, and some studies can be found on the CDC web site. The Lupus Foundation of America also has helpful tips for women wanting to know more about Lupus.