Providing some insight on lupus, a debilitating autoimmune disease

Statistics show that as many as 1.5 Americans are currently living with lupus and that there are over 16,000 new cases of this debilitating disease diagnosed here in the U.S. every year. Yet despite the prevalence of this condition, many people across the nation know relatively little about what it is and how it is treated.

In recognition of this reality, today's post -- the first in a series -- will outline some basic information about lupus in the hopes of helping the public understand more about this sometimes life-threatening disease.

Lupus: An overview

In general, the body's immune system wards off germs, bacteria and viruses through proteins commonly known as antibodies. In people diagnosed with lupus, which is classified as an autoimmune disease, their immune systems and the antibodies they produce are unable to differentiate between the healthy tissues of the human body, and germs, bacteria and viruses.   

What this means is that their immune systems inadvertently create antibodies that actively attack otherwise healthy tissue, which can result in pain, inflammation, and damage to important organs and body parts.  

It's important to understand that lupus, which occurs in patterns of flare-ups and remissions, is not a form of cancer and is not contagious.

Furthermore, it's important to understand that while lupus can be life threatening for many, it can also be relatively mild for others. In fact, many people diagnosed with the condition and treated by a physician can live happy and healthy lives

Still, there are those for whom lupus proves to be truly debilitating, preventing them from performing everyday tasks let alone go to work.

People in these unfortunate circumstances need to know that they may be able to secure much-needed financial assistance via Social Security disability benefits. Indeed, an experienced attorney can guide them through the entire process and handle all matters while they focus on managing their condition.

Source: Lupus Foundation of America, "What is lupus?," Accessed Jan. 8, 2015