Kim Kardashian West cried with tears this week in the latest new episode of her reality show ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’. She was told that she tested positive for lupus antibodies. But what exactly does that mean?
Kanye’s wife had been complaining about swollen joints for a while and felt tired all the time. After many tests, the doctor confirmed that the star has antibodies in her body for the lupus disease. However, her doctor, Daniel Wallace, emphasizes that this does not mean that she has the disease. Two years ago it became known that the American singer Selena Gomez did suffer from the disease; she underwent a kidney transplant. But what exactly is lupus?
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that mainly affects women and usually occurs at a relatively young age. In short, the disease causes your immune system to attack your healthy body cells, and it causes chronic inflammation. There is a difference between skin lupus, where only the skin is affected, and systemic lupus, where all different parts of the body can be changed.
It’s not because lupus is in the family that you’re guaranteed to get it. But the chances are much better.
- Environmental factors
There is much more research to be done, but it is said that certain environmental factors such as a bright ultraviolet light can trigger the onset of the disease. Lupus patients are also advised to avoid sunlight and always to apply a sunblock in the summer months.
There are also certain drugs that can cause similar disease symptoms, which is then called drug lupus.
The symptoms of lupus are different for everyone and vary significantly from person to person. These are the most common:
- White to purple hands when it is cold or the Raynaud phenomenon
- Muscle strain
- Joint complaints (especially hands, fingers, wrists and knees)
- Solar hypersensitivity
- Shortness of breath, lots of coughing
- Gland swelling
- Skin abnormalities
- Injuries to the mouth
- Fatigue and fever
- Hair and weight loss
- Personality changes
- Kidney abnormalities
- Heart defects
Lupus is incurable but can keep under control. There are several drugs on the market, depending on the nature and degree of infestation that you have to take. Every day you also have to take a preventive aspirin to prevent blood clots, and anti-inflammatory drugs help against joint pain.
Most patients have flare-ups of the disease, with much heavier medication having to be taken during the worse periods. Women also need an adapted form of contraception because, like the pill, lupus increases the risk of blood clots and thrombosis. Children can have lupus, but it must be planned well. You must control the disease with medication because fierce flare-ups can affect the fetus. The risk of an early miscarriage remains larger.
In case of suspicion of the autoimmune disease, various tests are carried out. Blood and urine tests are carried out, and the organs are also examined, you undergo an MRI scan, and a lung function test is carried out.