I am a 22 year old Korean-American woman, and I suffer from a disease known as Systematic lupus erythematous (SLE), more commonly known as lupus. According to a survey, 3/4ths of Americans ages 18-34 have either never heard of lupus, or know very little about it, despite the fact that 1 in 250 people may develop lupus. Currently about 1.6 million people are diagnosed, but as many as 3 million people may currently have SLE, as the disease can take years to diagnose. Why is there so little awareness of this disease despite how common it seems to be?
Well, first of all, it is a difficult disease to diagnose. It is known as the great imitator, often first mistaken for other diseases, and as a result can take years to identify. Each case of lupus is different, with symptoms ranging from skin rashes to renal failure to joint pain to heart attacks, making it even harder. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can potentially affect any part of the body, and approximately 150,000 people die from lupus and lupus complications each year.
So why is this important on a blog called angrynativefeminists?
Well, the most interesting and least studied factor of lupus, is the fact that women make up 90% of lupus cases. Not only that, but black women, Native American women, Latino women, and Asian women are three times as likely to develop lupus as Caucasian women. In fact, it is speculated that in some Native tribes, lupus occurs 10 times more than any European American population, though this is difficult to study as Native Americans have become so mixed ethically.
What else? Black women are more likely to experience renal failure than whites, more likely to develop the disease earlier in life, and are less likely to receive proper treatment due to economic status and lack of health insurance, which is more readily available to the white population. Previous studies indicate that racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to experience lower quality health services. In addition, in diseases such as heart disease and cervical cancer, race-related preferences in treatment choices appear to exist. However, no studies have yet examined racial/ethnic differences in treatment preferences among lupus patients.
Lupus is a very painful disease. I personally have been disabled by this disease and the severe joint pain it’s caused in a mere 5 months of disease progression. I cannot walk without mobility aids due to extreme joint pain, my chest is often inflamed so I have trouble breathing, and I suffer from depression and anxiety as a direct result of my disease. My medications have symptoms such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and even blindness. You have the pick your poison with lupus- do I want to be able to walk today, or do I want to risk another disease because I have to take this medicine? Some lupus patients are lucky and only have to deal with minor symptoms such as arthritis, but it is far more common that lupus causes additional complications. Some lupus patients even have to go through chemotherapy to treat their symptoms. Many lupus patients cannot work, yet it healthcare costs average around $60,000 every year.
50 years ago, Lupus was considered fatal. Because of advancements in treatments, lupus is no longer considered fatal, but this is only true if the disease is actually being treated. Many women go undiagnosed, or simply deal with their symptoms due to a lack of health insurance coverage. Who do you think this affects the most?
I would like to note that while men certainly do develop lupus as well, this is predominantly a women’s issue. 90% of lupus patients being women cannot be some sort of coincidence, nor can the fact that POC are three times as likely to develop lupus as whites.
This can’t be a coincidence, and yet there is little to no research to study how lupus and minority genetics correlate. In fact, there is very little research done with lupus to begin with. There has only been one medication specifically developed for lupus in 50 years. As a disease that predominately affects women of color, I think it is incredibly important for us to step up. Raising awareness, raising donations, or even just self-educating ourselves about this disease can do so much to help the women who suffer daily from this terrible, cruel disease.
If you would like to learn more and/or do something about it, www.lupus.org/action is a great place to start. Don’t ignore this issue. Chronic illness is difficult to deal with, and those of us with lupus can use all the help, support, and understanding we can get.
By: Sammy B
One of my favorite ‘it” girls, Vanity Mann, better known to you all as Patty Mayo, Atlanta’s own lipstick and latex, tattoo bandit, army strong fashionista. The pictures above are from Xposure Fash Co’s Spring Fashion Show. All pictures were taken by me but I own no rights to any of the designer’s pieces. Some of the designers featured are Calapo Inc, Lakisha Beauford, ThrowNShade, BeatEarz, 3rd World, many more.
If you’e not already, follow my gyal!
|—||Kerri Ryan MA (via eatmangoesnekkid)|
by Janani Balasubramanian
There are some accepted ways for white girls to deliver poems on eating disorders. They might analyze their mirror and remark on the ugliness of the light refracted back, so thin and so cracked. They might struggle under the weight of a thousand magazines, feel the pressurized dig of Vogue Models’ heels into their backs. They might feel bound by the shackles of patriarchy, break out of them with teeth.
And they are always believed. Because anorexia’s face is straight and white. She is from a developed country. She has always had enough food to eat and chose to give it up.
The rest of us are immune.
As if eating disorders rain down in UV rays and we’re walking around lucky and sunblocked by our SPF 50 skin. This is one disease the colonizers couldn’t give us.
I’m a little brown dyke who has always liked math even more than I liked girls.
White doctors in white coats do not understand what I have ever had to starve for.
But they forget I can calculate the entropy of the universe. And an eating disorder is by comparison a very manageable amount of chaos.
My body is the most satisfying problem I have ever solved.
I was so good at measurements that I put the model in model minority, wrote equations for the lines that take us between art and death, grew exponentially backwards into my own mortality, defined my absolute value as distance from size zero.
At 14 years I was in multivariable calculus and 30 pounds underweight. I figured it would be just some weeks before my bones would show their faces, just a few more and my body temperature would fall 2.5 degrees permanently, 15 blood pressure points down I’d feel constantly high and faint everyday, two-thirds of my dinner needed to be discarded to make the other numbers work out.
At 16 years and 25% less mass I told my guidance counselor I might be anorexic. She told me eating disorders are only common in white girls that it was likely my genetics and I could try eating just a bit more, and if I didn’t it was all right I would fit perfectly in the corner of a Benneton ad.
That year I flew away to college. At the security checkpoint my mom held my hands. She said I was getting hard to hug, that my bones were so jagged that they hurt her sometimes. Her tears soaked through my hair which was falling out in clumps and I estimated that at this rate there were two more years before my heart would stop.
When I cracked the spine of my first college math book I thought, it may have been my own back breaking. I was shivering in the California sunshine, thinking my legs would not be strong enough to trace my foremothers’ footsteps, that I wanted to live to honor their stories.
To brown girls whose bodies are never enough, to those who have been disappeared in nighttimes and bleached away in daylight, remember, there are revolutions to feed, protest songs to be rung with our fullness. We are all more amazing in three dimensions. Keep the future in your hearts and love yourself for appetite. Because we are the most beautiful equations the world has ever seen.
*Feel moved? Feel represented? Then please support this space and queer, trans*, and gender-non-conforming writers of color! GO HERE!!!
Janani sometimes calls herself a queer South Asian scholar-activist, a poet, and an advocate for a more peaceful food system. She’s a senior majoring in Atmosphere/Energy Engineering and Queer Studies. More of her poetry can be found at jananiwritesthings.posterous.com
India opened the country’s first state-owned bank for women Tuesday, aimed at strengthening their financial security in a country with stark rates of gender inequality, underscored especially in the past year by a string of horrific sex crimes.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the Bharatiya Mahila Bank (Indian Women’s Bank) in the south of Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, home to one of seven nationwide branches that are now operational.
The idea for the bank was first announced in February at a time when the country was still reeling from the fatal 2012 gang-rape of a student in New Delhi, which sparked anger and soul-searching over the treatment of women.
Photo: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images
If you haven’t done so already, please check out anrywomenofcolorunited
Is Not My Name Tee.
photo via her Instagram.
Further, I do not have to state what my name is. I don’t owe men a conversation or shit else. Great t-shirt here.
LOVE HER AND THIS SHIRT
Yay! Love her!
Hair and fashion inspiration. Ccco && Breezy are local’s of Bushwick Brooklyn. Talk about style, they own it.
Reppin’ Ojibwe (Minnesota) and Eastern Shawnee (Oklahoma) before a powwow in Richmond, Virginia.