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Collaborating to enhance public outreach and education


The Georgia Council on Lupus Education and Awareness (GCLEA) is a state-wide organization that tackles lupus as a public health concern.

Through state legislation, GCLEA is tasked with investigating education and awareness concerning lupus throughout the state, developing educational material on lupus, improving patient access to care through the creation of an online directory of healthcare providers, and making recommendations for legislative action.

What Is Lupus?

Lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack one’s body. The disease is characterized by the inflammation of various healthy tissues and organs in the body including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain. The severity of the disease may vary because no two cases of lupus are exactly alike.

What Are the Different Types of Lupus?

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the type of the disease that can affect many parts of the body. SLE, which is the most common form of the disease, is most commonly characterized by inflammation of the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain.

Cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) is a chronic skin disorder that can affect the skin. Patients with cutaneous lupus develop photosensitivity, hair loss, skin rashes, and skin lesions.

Drug-induced lupus erythematosus, like SLE, can affect many parts of the body. However, it is caused by an overreaction to certain medications. Studies have shown that removal of the medication may stop disease activity. Drugs most commonly connected with drug-induced lupus are those used to treat chronic conditions such as seizures, high blood pressure, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Neonatal lupus erythematosus occurs when autoantibodies from a mother living with SLE passively transfers them to her infant. Like SLE, it can affect many parts of the body including the skin, liver, and blood. These symptoms disappear completely after several months and have no lasting effects.

What Causes Lupus?

The causes of lupus are unknown but are believed to be linked to genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors. In some families, inherited factors play a role in a person’s risk of developing lupus.

Who Gets Lupus?

Anyone can have lupus. More than 90 percent of people living with lupus are women between the ages of 15 and 45. African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American women are at greater risk of developing lupus than white women.

In particular, African-American women are three times more likely to get lupus than white women. Men, who make up 10 percent of lupus patients, often develop the disease before puberty and after the age of 50.

Is Lupus Contagious?

Lupus is not contagious or infectious and, therefore, cannot be transmitted to other people.

What Is a Lupus Flare?

Most patients experience times when the disease is active or in a flare, followed by times when the disease is less active or in remission. Understanding how to prevent flares and how to treat them when they do occur helps people with lupus maintain better health.

Is There a Cure for Lupus?

There is no cure for lupus. However, there are treatments that can help prevent flares, treat symptoms, and reduce organ damage.

Is Lupus Fatal?

Many men and women live long, productive lives with lupus. It is fatal for some people. It depends on the severity of the disease, how the body responds to treatments, and other factors. Infections, cardiovascular disease, and kidney failure are common complications and the most common causes of death in people with lupus.

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