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More than 1.5 million in the United States and at least 5 million around the world have lupus. Each year, 16,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. But, many people are unaware of this disease.
Lupus most often strikes women between the ages of 14 and 44, but 80 percent of women know little or nothing about the disease, according to the Congressional Lupus Caucus. The disease can affect men and people of all races and ethnic groups, though it is more common among women of color. In 1977 President Jimmy Carter started Lupus Awareness Week. In 2009, the Lupus Foundation of American began designating May as National Lupus Awareness Month.