Lupus Awareness Month – May 2021

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Lupus Awareness Month occurs every May and we celebrate this month to contribute to the welfare of the affected community. This inflammatory disease is caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues and affects the overall well-being of the person in many ways. This month is all about raising awareness about its impact on the physical, emotional, and economic aspects of a person’s life. 

History of Lupus Awareness Month

Originally, from 1977, Lupus Awareness Month was observed as National Lupus Awareness Week in September, and then it was moved to October. It was only in 2009, owing to the efforts of the Lupus Foundation of America, that it was shifted to May as Lupus Awareness Month, and it has officially been observed throughout this month since then.

Lupus is difficult to diagnose as it is often mistaken for other diseases. Most of the time, people don’t even know they’re living with it. However, one common symptom that has been noted is a bright red rash on the face that runs from the bridge of the nose, under the eyes, and across the cheeks. Due to its resemblance to a butterfly, it’s known as a butterfly rash. This is likely also where it got its name from, with its scientific name being systemic lupus erythematosus and ‘erythroid’ being derived from the ancient Greek word for ‘red.’

Lupus Awareness Month has become increasingly important for lupus advocates over the years as a lot of people do not know about the disease or how to manage it. The color purple has become associated with lupus awareness. One may wonder why purple specifically? That’s because purple is a combination of the passion of the color red and the calmness of the color blue. Purple is thought to pacify the mind and nerves, uplift the spirit, and provide the courage to fight. The movement to create awareness about this autoimmune disease sees several events taking place every year in May across the country. These are aimed at raising funds for research initiatives and to financially support affected families.

Lupus Awareness Month timeline

1851
Lupus Defined as an Autoimmune Disease

Various research and documentation leads to the advancement of the understanding and diagnosis of lupus as an autoimmune disease.

1977
Establishment of Lupus Awareness Week

President Jimmy Carter signs Public Law 95-72, which establishes the week-long observance for lupus awareness.

2004
Establishment of World Lupus Day

Lupus Canada creates World Lupus Day on May 10 to spread awareness about this little-known disease.

2009
Transition from Awareness Week to Month

Lupus Awareness Week is extended to a period of an entire month to raise awareness for this disease.

Lupus Awareness Month FAQs

What is the lupus color?

Purple is a combination of red and blue — the color red represents passion/motivation and the color blue evokes a sense of calmness. Thus, purple is the color for lupus as it is the perfect blend of colors that represent the characteristics required to fight lupus. A purple butterfly is also the symbol for lupus. 

What day is National Lupus Day?

World Lupus Day is on May 10. The observance falls during Lupus Awareness Month, which sees multiple events taking place across the country that endeavor to create awareness, raise funds, and hopefully support families that are affected by lupus. Lupus advocates also observe the month in their own way with digital campaigns, fundraising activities, and educational sessions.

Is lupus considered a disability?

For Social Security purposes and subject to certain criteria being met such as the involvement of two or more organs or body systems and if it includes at least two major signs or symptoms (such as severe fatigue, fever, malaise, and involuntary weight loss), lupus may be classified as a disability. 

How to Observe Lupus Awareness Month

  1. Advocate for Lupus

    Lupus lacks significant awareness and there isn’t even a cure for it yet. Education and continuous research are imperative if we want to conquer this disease. During this awareness month, you can advocate for lupus through social media by inciting informative conversations and equipping others with the knowledge you possess. You can even participate in the Walk To End Lupus Now event hosted by the Lupus Foundation to further your advocacy.

  2. Sign a pledge

    The lupus community needs an ever-growing support base. You can head to World Lupus Day’s official website and sign an awareness pledge. By doing so, you are pledging to help those affected by lupus and garner the much-needed attention from the relevant people in leadership positions.

  3. Wear purple

    Purple is the color associated with lupus since purple brings together the passion of red and the calmness of blue. You can show your support for lupus by wearing all things purple on Put On Purple Day on May 21. Make sure to inform others why you’re doing this and the significance behind it.

5 Facts You Should Know About Lupus

  1. Women are at high risk

    Studies have found that 90% of patients who have lupus are women.

  2. Lupus can be limited to skin

    Patients with discoid lupus may only get rashes and skin lesions as compared to systemic lupus.

  3. Lupus can impact the kidneys

    According to a study, about 40% to 70% percent of patients with lupus have kidney inflammation.

  4. There is no cause

    One of the reasons lupus is such a complex disease is that there is no definite known cause that triggers the symptoms.

  5. Lupus has 4 types

    There are four different types of Lupus — systemic lupus erythematosus, discoid lupus erythematosus, drug-induced lupus, and neonatal lupus.

Why Lupus Awareness Month is Important

  1. A need for increased awareness

    Some studies show that way too many people know little to nothing about anything related to lupus. A survey by the Lupus Foundation of America states that “while lupus affects an estimated 1.5 million people in the U.S. alone, 63% of Americans surveyed have never heard of or know little or nothing about this disease that has no cure.” Thus, a dedicated month is crucial to spread as much factual knowledge as possible about this autoimmune disease.

  2. It provides hope and encouragement

    Lupus neither has a cause, nor a cure. It can be an isolating feeling to fight through this disease alone with its heavy mental and financial impact. Lupus Awareness Month is critical as it brings people together and shows the lupus community that they are not alone in this fight. It provides them with hope for a better tomorrow and encourages them to fight through this.

  3. It raises funds and increases research

    Lupus needs to be extensively researched to find a cause and cure so it can be handled better. More research can hopefully help in early detection and a better plan for treatment. Lupus Awareness Month helps in gathering funds for research and to financially support families in need.

Lupus Awareness Month dates

YearDateDay
2021May 1Saturday
2022May 1Sunday
2023May 1Monday
2024May 1Wednesday
2025May 1Thursday