A very famous Kim has put Lupus in the news this week. Now one might argue that this is just another publicity stunt by a very press savvy family, and that might be the case, BUT Lupus is getting some much needed attention.
Starting with a primer on Lupus in Allure magazine before airing the season opener for Keeping Up with the Kardashians Sunday night, every major media outlet has run at least one story on the autoimmune disease. As someone who fights Lupus daily, as well as other autoimmune diseases, I say it’s about time the spotlight is shifted toward the nearly 25 million Americans who deal with the chronic struggle of autoimmune illness.
Think of that number… 25 million people. And that’s a low estimate from the National Institute of Health because it only recognizes 24 of the over 40 autoimmune illnesses. When those diseases are included the amount of people affected in the United States rises to over 50 million. Compare that to the 9 million people diagnosed with cancer or the 22 million with heart disease. An even closer look at the numbers show that autoimmune healthcare costs total over $100 billion a year versus $57 billion for cancer, but only $591 million is spent on research for autoimmune compared to $6.1 billion on cancer.
Well, people die of cancer you say. Yes they do, but did you know that Autoimmune disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in female children and women up to 64 years of age? Most autoimmune diseases have no cures, like Lupus. Lupus can only be treated, the goal is to quiet disease activity. So if Ms. Kardashian is shedding tears, those are real. Lupus can and does kill. Being told you now have to engage in a lifelong battle with your body would bring most people to tears.
I am truly sorry that Ms. Kardashian is embarking on this roller coaster of a disease. It will be difficult for her and her family in the days to come. I hope in time she may use her celebrity voice to become a strong advocate for all who endure the battle every single day. May God bless her.