The Saint Lucia Arthritis and Lupus Association (SLALA) continues the task of raising awareness of the disease called lupus.
The SLALA hosted seminars over the weekend on lupus awareness and rheumatoid arthritis awareness encompassing lectures by several doctors who specialised in the respective fields.
Lupus erythematosus is a name given to a collection of auto-immune diseases in which the human immune system becomes hyper active and attacks normal healthy tissues.
The symptoms of the disease can affect many body parts including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart and lungs.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks flexible joints.
Secretary of the Saint Lucia Arthritis and Lupus Association, Jackie Atkinson, hoped the seminar would educate not just persons who suffered from the disease, but the Saint Lucian populace in general. Upon completion of the seminar, the secretary was quoted as saying: “The whole idea behind the seminar was to bring awareness, not only to people that have the condition, but to the public. Lupus is a condition that affects the United States where we have statistics that one in every 250 black women is affected, and so if we can extrapolate, we know that here in the Caribbean that the numbers would also be pretty high so we try to bring awareness about the disease to Saint Lucians.”
The secretary of the SLALA also noted that rheumatoid arthritis is suspected to affect 1,500 persons in Saint Lucia.
Atkinson affirmed that the organisation’s goal was to increase membership and establish a support group for people suffering from lupus.
“We have regular meetings every Thursday of the month. We meet at the Ministry of Education conference room for an hour at five o’clock and we bring in health care workers, auxiliary people like physiotherapists, dentists to talk about health issues, and we’re going to be expanding that into support groups.”
According to Atkinson, included in the activities are the recognition of International Lupus Day and outreach programmes located in the south of the island.