After Kim Kardashian tested positive for lupus antibodies on a recent episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” many are asking questions about the autoimmune disease.
The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus. Though lupus can affect anyone, 90 percent of people living with it are women.
“Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease, and it has no cure,” explains Alok Patel, MD, a physician and medical contributor. “With the right treatment and lifestyle adjustments, patients can go into remission where they have little to no symptoms.”
According to Patel, “most people with lupus will start with very general or constitutional symptoms, which aren’t necessarily specific to lupus.” These include weight loss, muscle aches, fatigue and fever. “If lupus progresses, people can then get organ-specific symptoms, like chest pain, shortness of breath, headaches, confusion, and skin lesions that worsen with the sun.”
If you’re concerned about lupus, talk to your doctor since symptoms can be “puzzling,” says Patel. “Lupus is really hard to diagnose,” he says, “and can be missed because the symptoms vary from person-to-person.”
He adds: “With the right medical care and lifestyle adjustments, people with lupus can still live a long and healthy lifestyle. It’s not the early death sentence it used to be. There is hope.”
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