Celebrities With Lupus

Like Many Diseases, Lupus Doesn't Discriminate

Lupus LA's Orange Ball: A Night Of Superheroes. Credit: Leon Bennett / Contributor

Lupus doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age, ethnicity, income - even celebrity status. Anyone can get lupus. In fact, there have been many people who have made names for themselves in the world of entertainment, sports and politics who happen to have lupus.

Lupus is a rare autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. It can take several forms, from mild to life-threatening.

It can affect any part of the body, but it most commonly affects the skin, joints, heart, lungs and other organs. Symptoms vary, but it typically causes joint pain, swelling, hair loss, weight loss, mouth sores and scarring.

It's a chronic condition, meaning that its symptoms can last longer than 6 weeks and often for years. It's also a disease characterized by flare-ups and remissions, meaning that symptoms worsen, but eventually go away for a period of time before coming back again.

Celebrities With Lupus

For celebrities who are in the spotlight, constantly enduring public scrutiny, having lupus can be quite a cross to bear. Musician Seal battled discoid lupus as a childhood. His trademark facial scarring is a result of the disease. King of Pop Michael Jackson was thought to have lupus, although it was never officially proven. Perhaps lupus explains Jackson's drug use and avoidance of the sun since it can make those affected sensitive to light.

R&B singer Toni Braxton was diagnosed with lupus in 2008 after collapsing while performing in Las Vegas. Doctors initially thought she suffered a minor heart attack, but blood tests revealed she has lupus. J. Dilla, hip-hop producer and rapper, died at 32 due to lupus complications. His dramatic weight loss forced him to open up publicly about his health.

Writer Flannery O'Connor was diagnosed at 26. The disease ran in her family, as her father died from it. Although O'Connor suffered from lupus for more than a decade before her death, she didn't let the disease impact her successful writing career. Actor Ray Walston died in 2001 at 87 years old after a 6-year battle with lupus. Even after his diagnosis, Walston continued to act up until his death.

Pop star Lady Gaga does not suffer from lupus, but she revealed that she tested borderline positive for the disease. Lupus is a hereditary disease that has a history in Lady Gaga's family. Actress and singer Selena Gomez recently revealed that lupus was the reason behind her recent hiatus from the public eye. She even underwent chemotherapy to combat it.

Even Millie, the famous pet of former President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, has lupus. Barbara Bush suffers from Graves' disease, another autoimmune disease.

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Sources:

http://www.lupus.org/answers/entry/what-is-lupus

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