Auburn, N.H.According to the Lupus Foundation of America, approximately three out of every 10 American adults knows someone with lupus, a rheumatological autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the bodys own connective tissues. Lupus affects an estimated 1.5 million people in the U.S. and yet remains one of the most difficult conditions to identify and diagnose. About nine or 10 years ago, I started to become quite ill, said Nancy C. Hanger, author of The First Year: Lupus, An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (Marlowe & Company, 2003). Since then, I have been diagnosed, undiagnosed and rediagnosed with lupus. Lupus is like that; it is a frustrating disease to live with. CBS News reported last year that approximately 90 percent of people with lupus are female, and lupus is more common in blacks than whites. Symptoms usually start between the ages of 20 and 45. Early in the disease, a person may have one or many symptoms, including fatigue, fever, nausea, weight loss, muscle and joint aches, a red scaly rash on the nose and cheeks, and sun sensitivity, as well as a lowered red blood cell count (anemia) or other blood abnormalities. Other organs, including the lungs, liver and kidneys, can be affected, and women may have an increased chance of miscarriage. Since her diagnosis with lupus-related syndromes, Hanger has educated herself on every aspect of her condition. As a patient-expert, Hanger guides those newly diagnosed, step-by-step through their first year with lupus. The First Year: Lupus covers essential medical, therapeutic, lifestyle and coping methods for lupus patientsthe newly diagnosed, those who have been living with lupus for years, and those who care for lupus patients. In her book, Hanger encourages those diagnosed with lupus to think about the future, and remember that you are still in charge of your life. Having a chronic disease is not the same thing as having a fatal disease. You have a future, and you need to start planning for itwith lupus. For more information on Nancy C. Hanger, please visit www.windhaven.com/lupus. The First Year: Lupus, An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed is available at amazon.com and most major bookstores. Hanger is a freelance writer and editor who was diagnosed with lupus-related syndromes in the early 1990s after more than two decades of seeking a diagnosis. She is the co-author of Essential Business Tactics for the Net and a columnist for BYTE.com and WIRED News. Her freelance business, Windhaven Press, handles book editing and production for most of the major New York publishing houses. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three cats.