May is National Lupus Awareness Month and this week, the Senate approved a resolution to help raise awareness of the disease that kills more women each year than breast cancer.
Senate Resolution 55, authored by Sen. Constance N. Johnson, recognizes May 3, 2012 as Lupus Advocacy Day at the State Capitol.
"Lupus is a devastating disease that strikes many women in the prime of their lives. It not only impacts women, but their families who have to deal with the complications and consequences of this horrible disease," said Johnson, D-Oklahoma County.
Lupus is an acute and chronic autoimmune disease that affects 1.5 million Americans and around 25,000 Oklahomans.
In lupus, the immune system is unbalanced, causing inflammation and tissue damage to virtually every organ system in the body.
The disease can affect any part of the body, including the skin, lungs, heart, kidneys and brain. It can also cause seizures, strokes, heart attacks, miscarriages and organ failures.
Lupus can be particularly difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to those of many other illnesses, and major gaps exist in understanding the causes and consequences of lupus.