• Wednesday, March 29, 2023

HEALTH

Decoding Lupus, the disease Selena Gomez is battling

Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues and organs.

Selena Gomez – Image Credit: Getty Images

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

American singer and actor Selena Gomez, has informed her fans about her health condition after they noticed her trembling hands in a recent TikTok video. In the video, she was performing her skincare routine and applying makeup removal products when her shaky hands caught the attention of her fans.

Quick to respond, Selena used TikTok to share her health update with her fans. She wrote, “I shake because of my medication for lupus. Also read my disclaimer. I ain’t no pro,” The Times of India informs.

According to Mayo Clinic, Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues and organs. This results in inflammation that can affect various body systems, such as the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs.

Diagnosing lupus can be challenging as its symptoms often resemble those of other illnesses. However, a distinctive symptom, known as the butterfly rash, which appears on the face and resembles a butterfly with its wings spread across both cheeks, can be a tell-tale sign of lupus.

But it is important to note that not all individuals with lupus will experience this symptom.

In 2019, Selena told People, “As many of you know, around a year ago I revealed that I have lupus, an illness that can affect people in different ways. I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of lupus, which can present their own challenges. It’s an everyday struggle.”

Since being diagnosed, Selena has reportedly been transparent about her health condition and the disease. In 2017, she underwent a kidney transplant and received chemotherapy as part of her treatment for the autoimmune disease.

Selena took to Instagram to express herself in a lengthy post, where she encouraged her fans and followers not to misunderstand the disease. “I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So, I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering,” she wrote.

In her 2022 documentary, Selena opened up about her battle with the disease. “I haven’t felt it since I was younger. In the morning when I wake up, I immediately start crying because it just hurts, like, everything,” she said.

The documentary covers a six-year period of Selena’s career and was premiered at the AFI Fest on November 2, 2022.

Symptoms

Each case of lupus is unique, with signs and symptoms that can either appear suddenly or develop gradually. They can range from mild to severe and may be temporary or permanent.

Apparently, the majority of people with lupus experience mild symptoms, characterised by periodic outbreaks, referred to as flares, where the symptoms worsen for a period, then improve or even disappear for a time.

The symptoms of lupus that an individual experiences depend on the affected body systems, explains Mayo Clinic. The most frequent signs and symptoms include:

• Fatigue

• Fever

• Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling

• Butterfly-shaped rash on the face or other areas of the body

• Skin lesions that worsen with sun exposure

• Fingers and toes that turn white or blue in cold temperatures or during stressful times

• Shortness of breath

• Chest pain

• Dry eyes

• Headaches, confusion, and memory loss.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 90% of individuals with lupus are women, making it a disease that affects women more than men.

“About 9 out of 10 diagnoses of lupus are in women ages 15 to 44,” the US CDC report states.

It adds, “Lupus is most common in women ages 15 to 44, or during the years they can have children. Having lupus raises your risk of other health problems. Lupus can also make these problems happen earlier in life compared to women who do not have lupus,” it adds.

Can lupus be cured?

Cleveland Clinic affirms that at present, there is no cure for lupus. The goal of treatment is to control the symptoms and limit the damage the disease causes to the body.

Although the condition can be managed to minimise its impact on one’s life, it will reportedly never completely go away.

In most cases, death from lupus is not direct, but rather from the symptoms and damage to organs. Complications such as kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, and infections can cause significant harm and pose a threat to life.

Additionally, lupus is not contagious and cannot be transmitted from one person to another through touch, coughing, or sneezing.

 

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