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Women need to know their risks when it comes to autoimmune diseases and March is just the right month
CHICAGO, January 19, 2011 – Autoimmune and public health advocate, Courtney G. Smith hopes to use this year’s National Autoimmune Diseases Awareness Month, in March to spread further awareness of the presence and misdiagnosis of autoimmune diseases in the United States. The misdiagnosis and relative unknown causes of these diseases have prompted documentary producer Ms. Smith to tackle the diseases most formidable enemy, lack of awareness. Ms. Smith made this her mission after she was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis at the age of 22. This year marks the first year of a full month of Autoimmune Diseases awareness in March. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) introduced the resolution, which passed in the Senate on March 4, 2010 designating March as National Autoimmune Diseases Awareness Month.
“I don’t think people are really aware of the impact autoimmune diseases as a whole have on society,” said Smith. “Seventy five percent of those with autoimmune diagnoses are women; and according to the Journal of Public Health, autoimmune diseases as a group are one of the top ten leading causes of death for women age 65 and under.” African American and Hispanic women are more predisposed to have such diseases. Women are most commonly the family’s caregiver and are more apt to increased stress especially in times of economic downturn and financial instability. Many dismiss their symptoms as those of just fatigue and burnout.
Beauty Does Lie: The Untold Stories of Autoimmune Diseases was the brainchild of Ms. Smith after she realized society’s lack of awareness of the diseases in addition to the over 23.5 million Americans who are attacked by the very immunities their bodies are suppose to thrive upon. The documentary explores the lives of seven African American women as they cope with their individual autoimmune diseases on a daily basis. The women explain their emotional and physical difficulties of living with chronic, potentially debilitating diseases while dealing with the ignorance they encounter in society due to their healthy outer appearance. In spite of their daily battles with the diseases, they are able to triumph and live fulfilling lives. It also features commentary by rheumatologist Dr. Adrienne Burford Foggs of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL and neurologist Dr. Tonya Fuller of Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, IL.
Beauty Does Lie premiered at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, IL, was presented at the Minority Women’s Health Summit in Washington D.C. and then selected for presentation at the Western Psychological Association Convention. Beauty Does Lie also received a Merit Award for Video at the National Health Information Awards. Ms. Smith continues to provide private and public consultation and education sessions about autoimmune diseases and has been very successful in not only managing her disease but also living an active life.
Beauty Does Lie: The Untold Stories of Autoimmune Diseases is distributed by Fanlight Productions, Inc in Boston. The documentary is now offered at the home-viewing price of $39. To obtain the documentary the public should contact Anthony Sweeney at 1-800-876-1710.
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Last Updated ( Thursday, 19 July 2012 18:20 )