Selena Gomez has revealed that she underwent a kidney transplant this summer as a result of her battle with lupus. The Bad Liar singer was diagnosed with the condition in 2013, and has previously said that it left her struggling with anxiety and panic attacks. So what is lupus and how is it treated? We've rounded up all you need to know...
What is Lupus?
Lupus is an incurable immune system illness that affects many parts of the body including the skin, joints and organs. Lupus causes the immune system to produce too many antibodies, which may attack healthy tissues and leads to inflammation in the body. The symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening.
Lupus can cause joint pain, fatigue and headaches
What causes Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune condition, which means it is caused by problems with the immune system. It is thought a combination of genetic and environmental factors may be responsible for triggering Lupus in certain people. The condition is most common in women, and those of African, Caribbean or Asian origin.
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What are the symptoms of Lupus?
The symptoms of Lupus can develop over time and can vary from person to person, which means it is often difficult to diagnose. The main symptoms include fatigue, joint pain and swelling, and rashes – particularly on the face, wrist and hands.
Other symptoms may include a fever, swollen lymph glands, high blood pressure, headaches and migraines, depression, chest pain and memory loss, among others. According to the NHS, people may have long periods with few or no symptoms before experiencing a flare-up where their symptoms are more severe.
Selena Gomez had a kidney transplant following her struggle with lupus
How is Lupus diagnosed?
For a confident diagnosis of Lupus to be made, you'll need to have several symptoms, and a number of blood tests will likely be carried out. Once diagnosed, Lupus sufferers will need to have regular monitoring, as it can lead to other conditions, such as the kidney problems Selena developed.
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What is the treatment for Lupus?
There is no cure for lupus, but the symptoms can be managed with a mixture of medication and lifestyle changes. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, may help to reduce inflammation and ease joint and muscle pain. NHS recommends protecting skin from the sun, as this can sometimes make rashes worse. In more severe cases, sufferers may be prescribed Corticosteroids, which can bring symptoms under control and reduce inflammation quickly.