May is Lupus Awareness Month

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Lupus Foundation of America and Allsup Kick off Observance in San Diego

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We need to raise awareness about this disease and grass roots is where it begins.

Paper butterflies and lupus-themed T-shirts colored San Diego’s De Anza Cove Park last Saturday, calling attention to the often debilitating and painful autoimmune disease. May is Lupus Awareness Month, and Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation and Medicare plan selection services, ushered in the observance with the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) and one thousand Walk for Lupus Now® supporters.

Communities across the nation will host similar Walk for Lupus Now events from May through October to raise funds for lupus research. Allsup, which each year helps hundreds of individuals with lupus obtain SSDI benefits, is an LFA National Walk Sponsor. It’s estimated that lupus affects about 1.5 million people in the U.S.

Lupus is an unpredictable and life-threatening disease. According to the LFA, it can cause damage to virtually every organ in the body, especially the kidneys. A common symptom is a butterfly-shaped rash, which is why the butterfly has become a symbol for lupus awareness.

More than half the people with lupus suffer four or more years and visit three or more doctors before receiving a correct diagnosis. Late diagnosis and delayed treatment contribute to significant tissue damage leading to organ failure, disability and death.

If they cannot continue working, individuals with lupus may be eligible for SSDI benefits, including Medicare. However, because of a lack of understanding and awareness of the disease, as well as the subjective nature of some of its painful symptoms, many individuals with lupus are denied benefits.

LFA health educator Luz Maria Hernandez says she often gets phone calls from patients who need information on SSDI, or have been denied benefits. Additional patient concerns include the side effects of medication and lack of lupus-specific treatments.

“First of all of the medicines are borrowed—that is, they were not developed for lupus and are used primarily to treat other diseases,” Ms. Hernandez said. “Secondly, they are very harsh. Patients see weight gain and are more at risk for osteoporosis because of the steroids. You see a lot of hip and knee replacements.”

Issues like these are why Lupus Awareness Month and Walk for Lupus Now are so important.

“We need to raise awareness about this disease and grass roots is where it begins,” said Ms. Hernandez, who was handing out free magazines and books on lupus at the San Diego event. “We also need to raise money for research to find a cure and make more treatments for lupus available.”

LFA hopes to raise more than a million dollars through Walk for Lupus Now events this year. Find out how you can get involved during Lupus Awareness Month this May. Go to LFA’s web site at to find a Walk for Lupus Now event near you. For a free evaluation and additional information on SSDI, go to

Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 800 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, go to or visit Allsup on Facebook at

Tai Venuti
(800) 854-1418, ext. 68573

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Tai Venuti
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