In September 2016, the 24 year old singer Selena Gomez made headlines for cancelling her world tour due to her battles with the chronic illness known as lupus. Selena had revealed being a victim of lupus a year ago but fans had only heard of her suffering from lupus-related panic attacks and bouts of depression this year in an interview wherein she mentioned needing time off to take care of herself.
Statistics and celebs affected
Statistics have shown that 1.5 million people in the United States alone battle with lupus. Among the well known celebrities, Selena is but one star affected with this disease which involves the body’s immune system attacking its own tissues and organs. Along with Selena, TV entertainer Nick Cannon had been diagnosed with lupus in 2012. Cannon, however, has been motivational in his struggle with lupus asserting, “I have lupus but lupus doesn’t have me.” Gaga’s monsters may also be clued up that in the year 2010, she mentioned testing positive for lupus. Luckily for Gaga, her test score indicated a positive result yet she had no symptoms that commonly accompany a positive lupus result.
Since Selena’s heartbreaking news, fans have started to become more familiar with this autoimmune disease. One common type of lupus is Systematic Lupus Erythematosus. The reasons for contracting lupus are still beyond comprehension. Apparently the body is believed to be confused causing the immune system to attack the body, skin and joints. The brain and other bodily organs can be attacked as well. This disease is rather common among women from their early adolescence stages right up until menopause. Lupus symptoms quite often mask themselves and are often misdiagnosed as other illnesses at first so it can take a few years before lupus is actually identified in a person. Known symptoms of the disease include joint swelling. Joints which are red and swollen may be a red flag for lupus. However, joints do need to be persistently affected for at least 6 weeks for this sign to be ruled as a indicator of lupus. Another sign is the inflammation of the lining around the heart and lungs. This inflammation rarely causes damage to the functioning of the heart or lungs but instead causes severe chest pains and shortness of breath. Another symptom that easily masks itself as a normal urine infection is the traces of proteins and blood cells which appear in urine samples of people affected by lupus. A visible lupus related symptom is the disc shaped rash which appears on the face, neck and scalp. This discoid rash itself is a sign of discoid lupus which is another milder form of lupus.
The initial shock of knowing you living with lupus can be extremely difficult to bear. While trying to recover from the initial shock of having lupus, it is vital that lupus patients learn immediately what triggers lupus and how to prevent these triggers. The triggers of a lupus flare include fatigue, dizziness, headaches, pain, rashes, abdominal pain and fever.
Living with Lupus
As soon as lupus is diagnosed, patients ought to seek the necessary professional medical care. Lupus affects one’s immune system so doctors need to be visited for regular care such as vaccinations which can prevent infections from badly affecting the body. With regular chemotherapy it is believed that Selena among other lupus patients can continue with their normal lives and careers. Selena mentions being in remission and not experiencing too many symptoms aside from depression. Lupus patients do tend to have flares in which symptoms reoccur. As such lupus sufferers ought to make continuous use of drugs which suppress the immune system.
It’s amazing how Selena managed to shine light on lupus and get many interested and clued up on the disease. She knows that her health is important and has acknowledged that her fans are with her on her road to recovery.
By: Laila Abramjee