New York City’s S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Marks May 2011 as Lupus Awareness Month with Activities Across the Boroughs

Awareness-Building Critical for Autoimmune Disease that Affects More Than 60,000 New Yorkers and 1.5 Million People Nationwide.

As Lupus Awareness Month 2011 in May approaches, the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation launches a variety of programs to expand awareness and understanding of the chronic autoimmune disease among New Yorkers.

“Lupus is a serious health concern in New York City, especially among women, who account for 90 percent of cases,” said Margaret G. Dowd, executive director of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation.

“If you are a New Yorker with lupus, you are not alone. We are here to help,” said Dowd.

The Foundation has led New York City and the nation for over 40 years in providing support services, raising awareness, educating people about the disease, and funding research to find better treatments and a cure.

The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation’s featured Lupus Awareness Month activities include:

May 4—“New York State’s Lupus Awareness Day” in Albany. S.L.E. Lupus Foundation members will join advocates from across New York as the state’s Assembly and Senate make a special presentation of the resolution proclaiming “May 2011 as Lupus Awareness Month in the State of New York.”

May 7—“Living Healthy with Lupus Day” at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), 11am-3pm. Complimentary services and workshops on massage, health food, makeup, hairstyling and more will be provided to help women and men with lupus feel better—inside and out. East 71st Street at York Avenue.

May 10—“World Lupus Day,” 7:30am. Volunteers and staff from the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation will gather at NBC’s Today Show plaza at Rockefeller Center wearing orange, the official color of lupus awareness. 30 Rockefeller Plaza at 49th Street.

May 23 & 25—“Lupus Awareness at Grand Central,” 10am-4pm. S.L.E. Lupus Foundation staff will distribute free orange lupus awareness wristbands and other lupus materials to commuters in Grand Central Station. East side of terminal near subway passage.

May 26—“El Lupus y El Corazon” (Lupus and the Heart) at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Lupus expert Irene Blanco, MD, and cardiologist Mario Garcia, MD, will educate Spanish speakers about the damage that lupus can do to the heart. Not only is lupus a leading cause of heart attack and stroke among young women, but Latinas are two to three times more likely than Caucasian women to develop lupus in the first place. 111 East 210th Street—Gunhill Road entrance.

Key Facts About Lupus

  • More than 1.5 million Americans—an estimated 60,000 New Yorkers—have lupus.
     
  • While people of any age or gender can develop lupus, 90% are female between the ages of 15 and 45.
     
  • Lupus is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and stroke among young women.
     
  • Young women of color are at a higher risk than Caucasian women for developing lupus and experiencing serious and potentially fatal complications.
     
  • Although there is no known cause and no two cases are exactly alike, a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors are believed to trigger lupus and also cause disease flares.
     
  • Common signs and symptoms of lupus include unrelenting fatigue, fever, “malar” rash across the bridge of the nose, hair loss, swollen and painful joints, and sun sensitivity.
     
  • Lupus causes inflammation in organs and tissues, which can lead to potentially life-threatening complications in the kidneys, heart, brain, and lungs.

 

Visit http://www.lupusny.org/events/2011/lupus-awareness-month or Facebook.com/LupusNY for more on lupus and other special events and support groups throughout New York City during Lupus Awareness Month 2011 and beyond.