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Mercedes Ibarra was enjoying a vibrant career in the Los Angeles dance scene, when her health rapidly declined.
“The diagnosis of lupus was devastating to me,” she said. “I was losing my hair, my skin was breaking out in a crazy rash, my joints were swelling and I was extremely exhausted.”
Lupus affects approximately 1.5 million Americans — 90 percent of them are women, with black and Hispanic women more likely to be affected.
Enter Lupus LA, a Los Angeles-based support organization that offers everything from financial grants to patient conferences. There’s also nine support groups across southern California, including a Spanish language group and one for children.
“I have gotten friends from that who understand what I’m going through, which is an enormous help,” Ibarra said of her support group.
Lupus LA recently released a video sharing Ibarra’s story. It includes an interview with Dr. Swamy Venuturupalli, outlining the symptoms of lupus and the impact of treatment.
For Ibarra, proper medical treatment covered by insurance through the Affordable Healthcare Act allowed her to get back to work teaching dance to her young students.
Check out the video. If you have any questions for Dr. Venuturupalli or would like to schedule an appointment, call Attune Health at (310) 652-0010.