NewsHealthHealthcare / May 9, 2014

Hoosiers Rally For Lupus Awareness

Sam Klemet
Hoosiers Rally For Lupus Awareness

With Mother’s Day coming up Sunday, an organization is raising awareness about a disease that mostly impacts women.

The Lupus Foundation of America held an awareness event, Friday, outside the Statehouse.

The crowd of mostly women sported purple shirts as a sign of solidarity against the disease that impacts nearly 36,000 Hoosiers.

The disease can damage joints, internal organs, and cause fatigue and hair loss.

Both men and women can suffer from it, but women appear more susceptible.

Marion County Health Director Dr. Virginia Cain says particularly women of color.

"We believe that there is some kind of hormonal component that causes Lupus to occur greater in women than men," she said.  "We are trying to see if there is some difference in the hormones of white women compared to women of color."

About 90 percent of Lupus patients are women, and women of color are two to three times more likely to have it.

Lupus Foundation of America Indiana Chapter President, Jan Ferris, says it’s unknown why, which is why more education and research is needed.

"It's just a devastating disease that can plague havoc in your life," said Ferris.  "One in four become disabled when they have Lupus.  They can't hold a job.  They are limited in their motherhood.  It's just so crippling, and everyday life is so affected by it."

A Lupus awareness run and walk is scheduled for September 27 at Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park in Indianapolis.