Teen heartthrob Selena Gomez was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease. Known to be “Disease of a thousand faces,” Lupus affects about 9 out of 10 women aged between 15 to 44.
It is a chronic autoimmune disease, which means that your body's immune system turns against itself, attacking healthy cells and tissues in your body. Patients with lupus can experience different manifestations, including abnormal blood clotting, arthritis, rashes and organ dysfunction. In Selena Gomez’s case, the singer had to undergo a kidney transplant as a result of her condition.
Let’s take a deeper look into the causes, symptoms and ways to avoid its effects on your own health. Keep reading!
What is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that can affect different parts of the body. It has several different symptoms and also affects each person with a varying level of severity. The condition is known to cause inflammation in the body and in severe cases can also result in heart failure, kidney damage, brain damage and amputation.
Lupus is a long-term autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy tissue.
Inflammation caused by lupus can affect other body systems, including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.
Types of Lupus
Lupus is a disease that affects the body in many ways, such as causing inflammation and pain. It is differentiated into two types: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and discoid lupus.
Systemic: Systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common form of the disease. The immune system attacks healthy tissue, causing inflammation and pain. The inflammation can affect any part of the body, but it’s more common in joints, kidneys, lungs and skin.
Discoid: Discoid lupus occurs when a person experiences swelling in one area of their body — usually a joint or skin lesion — with no other symptoms present. It doesn’t damage healthy tissue; instead, it causes small areas of non-painful tissue to grow together because they have some kind of connection with each other.
Drug-Induced Lupus Erythematosus: It is different from SLE and is usually caused by taking certain prescription drugs. Its presentation is similar to SLE and the symptoms include joints and inflammation around the lungs.
Neonatal Lupus Erythematosus: Neonatal lupus is a rare form that occurs in babies of women who have anti-Ro and anti-La antibodies. At birth, the baby may have a skin rash, liver problems or low blood cell count.
Some common symptoms of Lupus include-
Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose or rashes elsewhere on the body
Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure
Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods
Shortness of breath
Headaches, confusion and memory loss
Genes play an important role but are not the only reason a person will get lupus.
The environment. Sunlight, stress, smoking, certain medicines, and viruses may trigger symptoms in people who are most likely to get lupus due to their genes.
Hormones such as estrogen (specially when estrogen levels are highest).
Problems with the immune system.
Lupus diagnosis can be difficult.
But some blood tests and other laboratory investigations can help:
Biomarkers— antibodies, proteins, genetics, and other factors that can show a doctor what is happening in the body or how the body is responding to treatment.
Treatment for lupus aims to reduce inflammation to protect organs from damage.
For patients with lupus, it is something that they will live with each day, but it doesn't mean that they can't live a happy, healthy life. Timely diagnosis and right treatment can help manage the symptoms and avoid complications.