Lupus Research Institute Launches Spanish-Language Campaign to Alert Hispanic Women to the Dangers of Lupus
Population at particular risk for lupus kidney disease
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
New York, NY, September 6, 2005 – The Lupus Research Institute (LRI) and its National Coalition of state and local patient organizations today announced the launch of a Spanish-language public service campaign designed to alert Hispanic women to the risks and dangers of lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that primarily targets young women between the ages of 15 and 44.
”There is an urgent need to educate Hispanic Americans about lupus, since there is evidence that they experience a higher rate of lupus, have more serious complications and higher mortality rates than Caucasians,” said Margaret G. Dowd, president of the national nonprofit Lupus Research Institute.
One of the nation’s least recognized major diseases, lupus affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans – 90 percent of whom are women in the prime of their lives. Lupus is the common name for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissues and organs. After 15 years of investigations around the country, researchers have found that Hispanic women with lupus are more likely to have kidney involvement and damage, and a rapid rate of kidney failure.
“Genetic and ethnic factors appear to be more important than socioeconomic determinants in influencing disease activity and certain organ manifestations,” said John D. Reveille, MD, Director of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunogenetics at the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center, and a lead investigator of the landmark LUMINA study (Lupus in Minority Populations: Nature vs. Nurture). Thus far, the study has examined ethnic factors among patients in Texas, Puerto Rico, Alabama, and Chicago. Another recent study of lupus in New Mexico also found a higher rate of kidney disease among Hispanics, especially those who developed the disease in childhood.
The campaign television advertisement, featuring actor James Garner, focuses on how lupus can start with seemingly minor symptoms (fatigue, fever, joint pain) but can cause serious complications and even be fatal. Garner, this year’s winner of the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, says in the ad, “Lupus has scarred my youngest daughter’s life. Protect Yourself. Get the Facts. Get into the Loop.”
Film Style Highlights Serious Message
The TV spot, which currently airs in English on more than 40 stations nationwide, incorporates the popular “Get into the Loop” call to action slogan and reinforces the bright orange Loop as the visible symbol for lupus. Viewers of the PSA are encouraged to call 1-877-789-LOOP for more information about lupus and for local resources. The public can also visit www.intotheloop.org for information in English and Spanish.
Garner also encourages support for the lupus cause by wearing the orange “Life without Lupus” wristband. “Everyone can help spread awareness of lupus and support research to find the cause and cure by wearing the “Life without Lupus” wristband,” said Garner.
The Lupus Research Institute is the national nonprofit organization dedicated to novel research to prevent, treat and cure lupus. Its National Coalition of state and local lupus patient organizations promotes public awareness about the seriousness of lupus and the need for increased research.
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