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Mr. Speaker, I rise before you today to emphasize the importance of raising awareness about Lupus, as well as recognizing it as one of America's major diseases. It is important to note more Americans have this disease than cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, sickle-cell anemia and cystic fibrosis combined.
In raising awareness about this devastating disease, I joined many of my colleagues in supporting increased funding for public and health professional programs which raise awareness and understanding about lupus. Furthermore, I stand with many of my colleagues in strengthening the Nation's research efforts to identify the causes of and cure for lupus.
I believe one of the more important ways of raising awareness is encouraging education about the disease and recognizing the symptoms. However, as many of the symptoms experienced by those who have lupus mimic other diseases, lupus is very often hard to diagnose. There is no cure for lupus and researchers have yet to learn what causes the disease. It is of interest to note, lupus occurs more frequently in women and is also two to three times more common among African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans.
Mr. Speaker, I am honored to support September 9 through 10 as Lupus Awareness Weekend. I am hopeful with increased professional awareness and improved techniques for diagnosing patients we can ensure early treatment options as well as early diagnosis. It is of utmost importance we remain vigilant in improving access to information about this disease and ensuring funding levels remain adequate.