Selena Gomez has been battling lupus since 2013. Few days ago, she announced on Instagram that she had a kidney transplant over the summer, the donor was her good friend Francia Raisa.

“It was what I needed to do for my overall health”, “Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made.” Selena posted, along with photos from her hospital bed and of her transplant scar.

Selena Gomez - Lupus

 

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs). “Chronic” means that the signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.

What Causes Lupus?

No single factor is known to cause lupus. Research suggests that a combination of genetic, hormonal, environmental, and immune system factors may be behind it. Environmental factors, ranging from viral and bacterial infections to severe emotional stress or overexposure to sunlight, may play a role in provoking or triggering the disease.

Lupus symptoms vary widely 

Because lupus can manifest in so many different ways and affect many different organs, symptoms can vary a lot from person to person—and this makes the condition tricky to diagnose. The most common symptoms include fatigue, joint pain, swelling, rash, and fever, but these signs may not be obvious, or they may be misdiagnosed as another condition.

There is also no lab test for lupus, so it has to be identified by first ruling out other conditions. A 2015 study in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases found that it takes nearly six years, on average, from the time people notice their first symptoms to the time they receive a correct diagnosis.

Here are some facts on lupus: 

  • Lupus is not contagious, not even through sexual contact. You cannot “catch” lupus from someone or “give” lupus to someone.
  • Lupus is an autoimmune disease, caused by problems in the body’s immune system. It can be mild or life threatening.
  • More than 16,000 new cases of lupus are reported annually across the country.
  • More than 90% of lupus sufferers are women.
  • Women of color are two to three times more likely to develop lupus than Caucasians.
  • Lupus is most common between the ages of 15-45.
  • Lupus can range from mild to life-threatening and should always be treated by a doctor. With good medical care, most people with lupus can lead a full life.
  • 72% of Americans aged 18-34 have either not heard of the disease or know nothing about it.
  • People of all races and ethnic groups can develop lupus.
  • Lupus is not like or related to cancer. Cancer is a condition of malignant, abnormal tissues that grow rapidly and spread into surrounding tissues. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, as described above.
  • There are four types of lupus: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), cutaneous lupus, drug-induced lupus  and neonatal lupus.