The Lupus Foundation is using a bus to help change that.
"Lupus for me has meant giving up some of the most cherished things in my life," Brittney Martin, a Denver resident who was diagnosed with lupus in 2011 said. "I used to be very active but now on some days it is very difficult and I am unable to run around the house with my 3-year-old. Raising awareness about lupus is crucial - I wish I knew more about the disease when I first got sick."
The disease primarily targets people of color, African-American and Latina women ages 18 to 44. The Lupus Foundation of America's Help Us Solve the Cruel Mystery National Tour-which includes a 45-foot purple bus with eight interactive exhibits-rolled into Denver to talk with locals the autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body.
Hundreds of people gathered at several locations throughout the city and had a chance to visit the interactive Lupus Bus, which seeks to educate people on symptoms, treatments and where to find additional medical help.
The national tour follows the release of a new survey showing that nearly three-fourths of Americans 18 to 34 - the age group at the highest risk for lupus - have never heard of lupus or know little or nothing about the disease beyond the name.
Hispanics and African-Americans are at a particularly high risk for lupus, but awareness among these groups is critically low.
The survey found that three out of four Hispanics and one out of two African Americans have either never heard of lupus or know little or nothing about the disease.
Forty-two percent of the Denver population is African American, Hispanic or of Latino origin.
Symptoms include painful or swollen joints, skin rashes, fever, fatigue, hair loss and kidney problems, some extreme cases culminating in death.
Learn more about the Lupus Foundation of America at www.lupus.org.