March 10, 2021
It’s no coincidence that March is designated as both National Autoimmune Diseases Awareness and Women’s History Months. That recognition is earned every day by the millions of courageous, determined women who fight lupus and other autoimmune diseases. Women are at far greater risk for most autoimmune diseases[i] and most of those the Lupus Research Alliance serves — nine out of ten people with lupus — are women.
An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system malfunctions and attacks rather than protects the body’s own organs, tissues or cells.[ii],[iii] In autoimmune diseases, the body can’t tell the difference between self and potentially dangerous foreign substances. The immune system creates antibodies that can attack different parts of the body. For example with multiple sclerosis the immune system attacks the nervous system while with type1 diabetes, it attacks the pancreas.[iv] But while most autoimmune diseases target a specific area of the body, the lupus immune system can attack any organ or tissue in the body.
While many are little known, autoimmune diseases are not uncommon, affecting an estimated 23.5 million Americans. But of all the approximate 80-100 autoimmune diseases, lupus is top of the list – the prototype. When researchers unravel the complexity of lupus, other autoimmune diseases will become much more clear. That’s why lupus research is so critical!
We thank a new donor, Color Street, for selecting the Lupus Research Alliance as a charity partner during National Autoimmune Diseases Awareness Month. Color Street is donating thousands to lupus research as they celebrate this month with their special nail polish strips called “Inner Strength” featuring multi-colored ribbons to represent the awareness colors of the many autoimmune diseases — including LUPUS PURPLE.