On average, 25 persons are diagnosed with lupus in Barbados each year.
And the president of the Hope Foundation, Shelly Weir, is appealing to Barbadians to learn more about the autoimmune disease.
“Young women are usually diagnosed with it but men to can be affected as well,” she told Barbados TODAY, following a special seminar for newly diagnosed patients at the Savannah Hotel yesterday.
She reasoned that if more persons knew about Lupus, which is considered the most difficult of all auto-immune diseases to diagnose, and an equally complicated disease to live with, they would have a better chance at surviving.
“This is an annual seminar. Basically because we think that once you’re newly diagnosed with lupus, the idea is to teach you not to only survive with Lupus but to live good with it. Once you’re diagnosed early and it is managed well, you can live a good life with it.
Our aim is also to help patients get comfortable with living with the disease,” Weir said.
She said it was it was important for lupus patients to know about their medication and the things that can happen to you when you have the disease.
“The more you know about it the better your chances are of surviving,” Weir stressed.
She praised the Foundation for its work over the years in keeping the public informed.
“ I think that we have done a very good job in terms of lupus awareness over the last 24 years. Certainly, the doctors are more sensitive to it now. Before you would have heard about misdiagnosing . . .. I do not hear that as often as before. I am proud to say really that the medical profession has really been sensitized and they do take seriously the symptoms of lupus,” she added.
But Weir admitted that there could never be enough awareness since every case of lupus was different.
“It’s a very complex condition. No matter how much awareness we do, I don’t know if it would ever be enough, only because every case of lupus is different,” she said.
This year’s annual Walk for Lupus will be held on August 31st.