Several people came out on Sunday morning to Cubbon Park to raise awareness about lupus, an autoimmune disease.
The Lupus Awareness Walk, organised by the Lupus Trust India, saw participation of several members of the trust, patients, and well-wishers.
“Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which our immune system becomes hyperactive. The system that is supposed to protect our body starts attacking our own body. It’s like the good guy attacking the good guy,” said YogeshPreet Singh, a rheumatologist.
“It is a disease that has no boundaries. It usually affects people in the most productive period of their life, that is between the ages of 15 to 45, and can affect any organ such as the eyes, liver, skin, brain, kidney,” he said. As the symptoms often mimic other disorders, early diagnosis is a problem.
VachasamritaSaiju, 19, a founding member of the trust and a lupus patient, said, “There currently isn’t much awareness about it in India. It is an invisible illness, you can’t see it but when I flare up, I almost fall unconscious. Only those suffering from it know how severe it can be.” She said that the idea behind the walk was to bring together patients, their families, doctors, support groups together for this cause.
Among their demands was to include lupus as a disease under the Critical Illness Category, Below Poverty Line (BPL) Health Scheme, and Orphan Drugs List which would allow access to subsidised medicines as well as inclusion of those with lupus under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016.