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photo Beauty Does Lie
By Courtney G. Smith
Control Your Auto

Although to others they may appear healthy, approximately 15 million Americans are living with chronic, potentially debilitating autoimmune diseases. Most of them — about 75 percent — are women. As a group, autoimmune diseases are among the ten leading causes of death for women 65 and under. This documentary explores the lives of seven African American women who are living with lupus, multiple sclerosis, Sjogrenís syndrome, pernicious anemia, and myasthenia gravis — a disease which also affects the filmmaker herself.

The women describe the physical and emotional difficulties of living with these frequently devastating conditions — including having to deal with the ignorance they encounter from people who doubt that they are really sick. Autoimmune diseases are often overlooked or misdiagnosed even by medical professionals, and several of these women were initially told that their early symptoms were psychological, or due to more benign causes.

Sections of the program deal with the symptoms of these diseases, how they are diagnosed, medications and their side effects, and the ways in which patients cope with their diagnoses. Professional perspectives on these conditions and their particular impact on African Americans are provided by rheumatologist Adrienne Burford Foggs, MD, SC, and Tonya Fuller, MD.

Despite their daily battles with these diseases, with the help of their families and friends, their support groups, and their religious faith, the women in this film live successful and fulfilling lives.

46 minutes
© 2006
Purchase $225 DVD
Order No. QA-477
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-903-7

Awards & Conference Screenings
Western Psychological Association
National Health Information, Merit Award

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To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website