Lupus: The Silent Killer
E. Ginger Sullivan
Nelson Mandela ( 1994, p. 751) was speaking about more than political freedom when he recently wrote: "Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me." Disease can, and does, limit our freedom by enslaving all people. Regardless of our place or position in the world, whether as physician, nurse, medical student, advocate, or patient, one way to maximize freedom is to fight the chains placed upon us by disease and disability. We can remove those chains by fighting disease as an informed health professional, a united family, and as a concerned community. In this chapter I will urge that health professionals understand the warning signs of lupus, employ a full range of medical and social treatments upon diagnosis, address lupus as part of a larger battle against minority health disparities, and advocate more research for minority and women's health issues, particularly for additional biomedical research efforts on lupus.
Women's health issues are tragically understudied. As a result, huge disparities in health status exist, with women suffering higher incidences of