At least 1.5 million Americans have lupus, an autoimmune disorder which affects all parts of the body, including the joints, skin and organs. Not to be confused with HIV, lupus is a noncontagious condition in which the immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells.
Here are 6 famous people who have lupus:
1) Lady Gaga, though not currently exhibiting any of the symptoms, told Larry King that she has tested “borderline positive” for lupus. According to the Lupus Foundation of America and The American College of Rheumatology, a positive diagnosis of lupus may takes years and a battery of tests to determine. Lady Gaga’s aunt Joanne died of lupus at the age of 19.
2) Toni Braxton. upon being diagnosed with lupus, tweeted to her fans, “Lupus medication actually causes most women to gain weight. But we’re still fabulous! I’m going to work it on out.” The drugs she referred to, Corticosteroids, are a form of steroid medication.
3) Musician Seal bears the mark of a skin-related form of lupus on his face; his scars are a result of discoid lupus, which causes extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet light and hair loss.
4) Cori Broadus, daughter of rapper celebrity Snoop Dogg, first started showing the signs of lupus at the age of 6. She is able to do all the same things other kids her age do, like sports and secular activities, thanks to lupus medication.
5) Ball player Tim Raines first experienced the symptoms of lupus in 1999 when he began to feel fatigue and swelling in the knees during a game. It turned out that lupus was attacking his kidneys; radiation therapy was prescribed and he was able to continue his career in sports until retiring in 2002.
6) Charles Kuralt died of heart disease only weeks after being diagnosed with lupus. More common in females, lupus in male patients is often undiagnosed.
7) Novelist Flannery O’ Connor passed away at the age of 39 when the removal of a tumor triggered a pre-existing condition of lupus. Her father also suffered from lupus. Close relatives of lupus carriers have a 5% chance of developing the condition themselves.
More can be learned about lupus at the Lupus Foundation of America.