INDIANAPOLIS -- State Sen. Connie Lawson on Monday joined Women in Government in hosting a legislators briefing on lupus in hopes of establishing a better understanding and awareness of this chronic autoimmune disease.
"It is estimated that 1.5 million Americans are living with lupus in our country and lupus annually costs Indiana an estimated $628 million," Lawson said. "Today's briefing was about providing lawmakers with a better understanding of the disease and the importance of educating Hoosiers about lupus and the need for earlier, life-saving diagnoses."
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body, including skin, joints and organs.
Normally an individual's immune system produces proteins called antibodies to protect against bacteria and viruses. With lupus, an individual's immune system cannot tell the difference between bacteria or a virus and their healthy tissues, so it creates auto antibodies to attack and destroy healthy tissue, Lawson said.
Lupus primarily affects women of childbearing age.
Monday's briefing included presentations by Indiana rheumatologist, Dr. Marlene Aldo-Benson, information about the Lupus Foundation of America, Indiana Chapter from Jan Ferris and remarks from Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Margaret C. Robb.
Lawson has also authored legislation this session to create a Lupus Education and Awareness Program within the Indiana State Department of Health to raise awareness and provide educational programs on lupus to health care and human services providers as well as the general public.
Women In Government is a national non-profit, bipartisan organization of women state legislators providing leadership opportunities, networking, expert forums and educational resources to address and resolve complex public policy.