(BLACK PR WIRE) -- Many people have never heard of Lupus, a chronic disease of the autoimmune system where the system attacks its own body cells. Related to arthritis, Lupus has similar symptoms such as painful or swollen joints. Other signs include tiredness, excessive fever and skin rashes, and effects of the disease range from mild to fatal. In the most serious cases, vital organs are inflamed and cease working.
There are different severity levels of Lupus, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). There is DLE Lupus that just affects the skin in the form of rashes, and SLE Lupus that affects multiple organs and can cause death. Drug-induced Lupus is a reaction to medications that has many of the same symptoms as SLE Lupus, except it does not affect the kidneys or central nervous system. While Lupus is incurable, not preventable and the cause is unknown, medical treatments exist that are individualized according to a patient’s needs and severity of symptoms.
According to the CDC, 90 percent of Lupus sufferers are females of childbearing age, and the disease is three times more common in black women than in white women. America’s Next Top Model contestant Mercedes Scelba-Shorte publicly revealed her Lupus diagnosis and became a spokesperson for the Lupus Foundation of America. She joined fellow model and spokesperson Tomiko Fraser, whose sister suffers from the disease. Putting well-known names and faces to Lupus should encourage more young black women with this condition to get examined and equipped for living a long, healthy life.