Raising funds for lupus sufferers

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Sdn Bhd operations director Mohamad Amar Shah (left) presenting the company

Persatuan SLE Malaysia (PSLEM) is committed to helping the Government set up a lupus registry to ensure proper allocation of resources to hospitals that treat lupus patients.

Speaking at a charity dinner in Petaling Jaya held in conjunction with PSLEM’s 20th anniversary, association president Dr Benjamin Cheah Tien Eang said the exact prevalence of lupus in Malaysia was unknown and, as such, PSLEM endeavours to support any initiative to create a national registry of the disease.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or lupus in short, is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects various parts of the body, and can be ranged from mild to life-threatening.

“SLE affects predominantly females at the prime of their lives and this group of patients are often vulnerable emotionally as their physical appearance is battered by the disease.

“Lupus is still difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms vary from person to person and can come and go over a long period of time. It can mimic the symptoms of other illnesses too. It can be fatal especially if untreated.

“The cause is still unknown although research has resulted in better understanding of the disease. Exposure to sunlight, stress and certain medications can trigger the disease,” said Dr Cheah.

It was reported that more than 90% of people with lupus are women, with 80% of them developing the disease between the ages of 15 and 44.

The disease is more prevalent in Asian or African-American people and patients will normally have to endure painful or swollen joints, unexplained fevers, extreme fatigue, skin rashes, chest pain, facial sores, hair loss, brain seizures and kidney failure.

Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was special guest at the charity dinner that was attended by 200 guests.

The dinner was one of the association’s efforts in raising funds to support its activities to help needy patients, create higher awareness of SLE and stimulate research activities.

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