On June 29, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2018 Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations bill, which funds the country’s military and medical activities. Within that legislation, $5 million in funding was allocated to the Lupus Research Program — in addition to the $5 million that Congress provided earlier this year for 2017! With a total of $10 million in funds, this will certainly provide a boost for lupus research.

First of all, what is lupus?

According to The National Resource Center on Lupus by the Lupus Foundation of America, lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects your immune system. With lupus, your body can’t tell the difference between foreign bacteria or viruses and your body’s healthy tissues, therefore, your body can attack and destroy its own healthy tissue. This can cause inflammation, pain, and damage to all parts of your body — meaning skin, organs, and even joints can be affected.

How does this relate to rheumatology?

Because lupus is a disease that affects the joints, rheumatologists are commonly the doctors lupus patients see. Although people typically associate rheumatologists with arthritis, they also treat autoimmune diseases of the muscles and bones — such as osteoporosis and lupus. Throughout their schooling, rheumatologists are trained to spot signs and potential causes of joint inflammation, and can often diagnose a patient with lupus.

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