Living with Lupus: What you need to know

Kim Kardashian broke down in tears when she received blood tests indicating she could have lupus and/ or rheumatoid arthritis.

The reality star had contacted her doctor after experiencing a myriad of ailments.

“Lately, my wrists have started to hurt again, but it’s definitely a different feeling than before. I feel this, like, in my bones,” she said.

“I just am, like, freaking out. I have a baby on the way, I have law school. It just really can scare you when you start really thinking about how much this is gonna really change my life.”

Her doctor confirmed that her antibodies were  positive for Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and explained that in addition to having joint swelling, she could have fevers, rashes, mouth sores, and fatigue.

Other celebrities who have been diagnosed with it include Selena Gomez, and Lady Gaga.

Lupus is a rare autoimmune disease, where your body produces antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues, causing inflammation.

Roughly 4,000 in Ireland are currently living with Lupus.

It is about nine times as common in women as men, and more common among young people.

Only about 1 in 15 cases begin after the age of 50. If Lupus manifests after the age of 50 it tends to be less severe.

There are two main types of Lupus: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE).

SLE is more serious and usually relates to a person’s joints, skin and internal organs, while DLE only affects the skin. People can have one or both forms.

While the nature and severity of the symptoms will vary, most lupus sufferers will normally experience joint pains, skin rashes and fatigue. Fevers, high blood pressure, weight loss, swollen glands, headaches and migraines are also common.

Lupus is often misdiagnosed as symptoms may have multiple other explanations.

Lupus can affect many different parts of the body, and when internal organs such as the heart, lungs, brain or kidneys are involved it can be much more serious.

Despite treatments for Lupus improving, it remains a variable and unpredictable condition and may even be life-threatening for people whose vital organs are affected.

Careful monitoring of the condition is needed so that potentially serious complications can be recognised and treated promptly.

There’s no cure for lupus at present, but doctors recommend following a balanced diet, exerciseing and not smoking.

Doctors also advise against spending too much time in the sun as too much ultraviolet light from sunlight can cause a red rash across the cheeks and the bridge of the nose, often known as the butterfly rash.

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