GARY | Dr. Hemendra Parikh, a local pediatrician, was the guest speaker at a recent medical conference held at The Methodist Hospitals' Northlake Campus attended by more than two dozen pediatricians and other medical and health specialists. The purpose of the conference was to help participants identify lupus symptoms in children, distinguish special problems of lupus in children, and analyze neonates of mothers with lupus.
Through a grant awarded by Kohl's the Lupus Foundation of America, Indiana Chapter, provided to each participant a children's book titled "Scott's Story About a Disease Called Lupus" as well as medical information about childhood lupus and basic information about the illness
Lupus is a potentially fatal autoimmune disease that approximately 1.5 million Americans have. Based on 2006 census, it is estimated that 34,187 of Indiana's residents have lupus, including 2,671 residents in Lake County, 865 residents in Porter County, and 597 residents in La Porte County.
Inflammation is considered the primary feature of lupus. Lupus is a potentially fatal autoimmune disease capable of damaging virtually any part of the body, including the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain. In its most severe form, lupus can cause disfiguring rashes and scarring, multiple miscarriages, kidney, heart and lung failure, impaired neurological function, strokes, heart attacks and death.
Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to those of many other diseases. There is an urgent need to educate patients and health care providers to achieve earlier and more accurate diagnoses. Improved management of lupus will reduce and prevent its adverse effects, particularly among those communities most severely affected.
Nine out of then people with lupus are women. Eighty percent of new lupus cases are diagnosed among women ages 15 to 44.
The Lupus Foundation of America is the nations leading nonprofit voluntary health organization dedicated to find the causes and cure for lupus. Research, education, and patient services are at the heart of the LFA's programs.
The Indiana Chapter of the LFA serves more than 2,600 individuals and their families affected by lupus who live in 14 counties in the Northwest Indiana region. For more information on the Indiana Chapter support groups, lupus, or the LFA, visit or call (800) 948-8806.
NEW SUPPORT GROUP
The Lupus Foundation of America, Indiana Chapter, a support organization for people with lupus, has added a new local group meeting in Hobart on the fourth Monday of the month. Meetings are free and open to anyone interested in learning more about lupus, as well as, anyone living with a chronic condition. The next meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. Monday in Conference Room 3-A (West tower first floor), St. Mary Medical Center, 1500 S. Lake Park Ave., Hobart. The topic will be "Banish Your Holiday Stress," presented by Sharon Orenick, MSW, LCSW.
The LFA, Indiana Chapter has formed this group for those living with lupus, as well as, their family members and caregivers. The group allows its members an opportunity for a healthy exchange of feelings, opinions and thoughts while coping with this very complicated illness. Meeting programs vary from guest speakers to video presentations and open group discussions.