Lady Gaga Tests (Borderline) Positive for Lupus

Juliet Farmer
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Lady GagaLady Gaga is everywhere lately. When she's not on television, she's taking in a baseball game, gracing the cover of a magazine, or chatting with Larry King.

She must be doing something right -- after all, she can afford to drop $25k on rent for her Bel Air pad.

But fame and fortune only goes so far, and it seems that Lady Gaga's health could be in jeopardy.

During a recent interview on Larry King Live, Gaga admitted she has tested borderline positive for lupus, as well as shared that lupus took her aunt Joanne, and that the disease runs in her family.

What is lupus?

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). Lupus causes the immune system to attack the body’s healthy tissues, causing inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body. As horrible as it sounds, the good news is that lupus is not contagious.

Who has lupus?

An estimated 1.5 million Americans have lupus, mostly women of childbearing age (15-44). In fact, more than 90 percent of people with lupus are women. However, men, children, and teenagers develop lupus, too. Women of color are two to three times more likely to develop lupus, but people of all races and ethnic groups can develop lupus. Relatives of people with lupus have an approximately five to 13 percent chance of developing lupus. However, only about five percent of children will develop lupus if their mother has lupus.

What are the symptoms of lupus?

Common symptoms include:
    * extreme fatigue
    * headaches
    * painful or swollen joints
    * fever
    * anemia (low numbers of red blood cells or hemoglobin, or low total blood volume)
    * swelling (edema) in feet, legs, hands, and/or around eyes
    * pain in chest on deep breathing
    * butterfly-shaped rash across cheeks and nose
    * sun- or light-sensitivity
    * hair loss
    * abnormal blood clotting
    * fingers turning white and/or blue when cold
    * mouth or nose ulcers

What's the lupus prognosis?

While there is no cure, and some people do die from lupus, people with non-organ threatening aspects of lupus can expect a normal lifespan if they are under the care of and follow the instructions of their physician, take their medication(s) as prescribed, and seek help for unexpected side effects of a medication or a new manifestation of their lupus.

As for Lady Gaga, testing borderline positive for lupus means she needs to watch her health and take care of herself, as well as head to her doctor if she shows any signs of it.

Do you or does anyone you know have lupus?

 

Image via petercruise/Flickr

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