How Has Lupus Impacted Selena Gomez And What Is Lupus?

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Selena Gomez is a popular singer and actress. She grew up in Texas, appearing on the TV show Barney & Friends when she was a child. As a teenager, she is well known for her role on Wizards of Waverly Place.

Her post on Instagram revealed she had a kidney transplant due to lupus. Lupus is often referred to as Selena Gomez’s disease. She spent some time in a treatment center in January of 2014 after her diagnosis.

Her kidney was donated by a close friend, Francia Raisa. Lupus is an autoimmune disease. According to WebMD, there is no cure.

What is Selena Gomez Disease and How Was Selena Affected?

Selena was a star by the time she reached the age of 24. Selena Gomez Disease or Lupus has impacted both her physical and mental health. While she was on tour, she suffered from anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and low self-esteem.

Her participation in group therapy, individual therapy, and equine therapy was beneficial. Her focus was on acceptance, mindfulness, and changing negative behaviors. She supports mental issues and encourages people to open up and discuss therapy.

She has received treatment for the disease and is currently in remission. A good explanation of Lupus is available through a doctor at Cleveland Clinic in this YouTube Video. At this time, 1.5 million people in the United States have lupus.

What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Lupus?

As an autoimmune disease, Lupus has a range of symptoms including:

  • Achy or swollen joints
  • Severe or constant fatigue
  • Swelling in the ankles
  • Hair loss
  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Skin rash
  • Fever exceeding 100 degrees
  • Deep breaths resulting in pain in the chest
  • Nose or mouth sores
  • Sensitivity to lights and the sun
  • Internal organ issues including the heart, kidneys, lungs, and brain
  • Pale purple toes or fingers due to stress or cold
  • Fatigue

When the symptoms appear and disappear in waves, it is referred to as flare-ups. When the disease is in remission, the symptoms are often not noticeable or light. Symptoms can also be so heavy daily life is affected.

What Are the Different Types of Lupus?

According to Cleveland Clinic, there are several different types of the disease including:

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus:

SLE or systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common form where healthy tissue is attacked by the immune system in error. This often impacts the joints, skin, and organs including the brain and kidneys.

Drug-Induced Lupus:

This type of lupus results from specific medications. The symptoms are generally the same as systemic lupus erythematosus. Drug-induced lupus is usually temporary and will disappear once the individual stops taking the medication.

Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus:

This form of disease impacts the skin. The word cutaneous actually means skin. People with this disease often suffer from skin issues including rashes and sensitivity to light or the sun. Another common symptom is hair loss.

Neonatal Lupus:

This is the rarest type of this disease and is present in infants when they are born. These children were passed antibodies from their mothers. Either the mother had lupus when she was pregnant or she may be diagnosed at some point in the future.

Even if the mother has lupus, it may not be passed to the child.

What Are the Risk Factors and Causes of Lupus?

The exact cause of lupus remains unknown. Medical professionals believe lupus occurs when the immune system is triggered to attack the body. Research is still being conducted to determine the cause of the disease.

Prescription medications including procainamide and hydralazine can cause lupus. Symptoms usually disappear once the medication is stopped. According to WebMD, the following increases the risk of a lupus diagnosis.


Women between the ages of 14 and 45 are the group most affected.


The risk of lupus is higher for individuals of Native American, Asian and African descent.

Contact with Viruses:

Contact with both chemicals and viruses can trigger lupus.


Among all lupus diagnoses, 90 percent are women. The belief is this is due to hormones.

Family History:

Lupus can impact multiple members of the same family. Approximately 10 percent of everyone diagnosed with the disease has a close relative with lupus.

What Are the Effects of Lupus On the Body?

Lupus often affects many different areas of the body. Many people experience serious complications and aches and pains.

Since this is an autoimmune disease, the result is the body attacking itself. This means organ damage is possible as time passes.

According to, the most commonly affected parts of the body are blood, kidneys, heart, skin, joints, brain, and lungs.

When lupus affects the kidneys, the result is potentially life-threatening. Approximately 50 percent of all people suffering from lupus experience kidney issues similar to Selena Gomez.

Kidney issues are generally diagnosed when the person develops a fever or rash, loses weight, or becomes ill due to arthritis. Although not as common, kidney diseases are possible even if there are no other symptoms of the disease.

Unfortunately, kidney disease is usually in the advanced stages before any symptoms are produced. It is essential to diagnose kidney disease as early as possible and treat it correctly.

There is a urine test referred to as a urinalysis that is capable of showing kidney disease in the earliest stages.

Skin issues are a common effect of lupus. Some individuals diagnosed with this disease have a red rash on the bridge of their nose and over their cheeks. This is the same area the most common wolf markings are found.

This is the reason the disease is called lupus. The Latin word for wolf is lupus. Another skin issue with lupus is large, circular red rashes called plaques. If scarring occurs, it is referred to as discoid lupus.

If exposed to the sun, skin rashes often become worse. Mouth sores and hair loss are also common with this disease. In some cases, the lungs and heart are involved as well. This is often due to the heart or lungs being covered by inflammation.

When these organs are inflamed, the result can be the development of an irregular heartbeat, chest pain, or fluid building up around the heart or lungs.

When blood is involved, there may or may not be other symptoms. People with the disease often have a dangerously low number of white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets. Platelets are a type of cell helping blood to clot.

If there are any changes in blood counts, the result may include:

  • Fatigue symptoms
  • Low red blood cells resulting in anemia
  • Low platelet count resulting in easy bruising
  • Low white blood cell count resulting in a serious infection

Many individuals never experience the symptoms associated with blood abnormalities. For this reason, blood tests should be performed periodically so any issues can be detected.

Lupus often causes an increase in blood clots. If the clot occurs in a vein in the legs, it is called deep venous thrombosis. Clots in the lung are called a pulmonary embolus and a stroke is a clot in the brain.

When an individual with lupus develops a blood clot, it may be due to antiphospholipid antibody production. This type of antibody is classified as an abnormal protein and increases the risk of blot clots.

Most people with lupus are not affected by brain issues. If this occurs, the result can be seizures, depression, and confusion with strokes rare. Arthritis is another common issue for individuals with this disease.

There can be pain and swelling. Pain and stiffness are the worst in the morning. Arthritis can become permanent or last for days or weeks. In most instances, arthritis is not crippling.

What is the Best Way to Diagnose Lupus?

Lupus usually has a lengthy and difficult process for diagnosis. This is because many of the symptoms overlap other diseases and conditions such as arthritis and diabetes.

Diagnosing lupus is even more challenging due to the time necessary for symptom development. According to Medical News Today, the majority of providers begin with a family history to determine if lupus is present in the family.

The provider then discusses any symptoms the individual has experienced. The next step is taking lab tests to find abnormalities including anemia and low blood cell counts. In some cases, an ANA or antinuclear antibody test is performed to find antibodies.

Antibodies are located in the blood and fight off diseases. This is often a symptom of an autoimmune disease. Individuals with systemic lupus erythematosus frequently test positive.

Even if the ANA test is positive, it does not mean the person has lupus. Positive ANA tests can result in whether the individual has this disease or not. For this reason, lupus is not diagnosed with this test alone.

Providers will usually look for a minimum of three other clinical features before giving a lupus diagnosis. This includes both family history and symptoms.

The Most Common FAQs Regarding Lupus

As an autoimmune disease, lupus is long-term. The immune system within the body is hyperactive, leading to the attack of healthy and normal tissue. Many people experience swelling, inflammation, and damage to different parts of the body.

This includes joints, kidneys, heart, blood, lungs, and skin. Since lupus is a very complicated disease, it is often referred to as the disease of a thousand faces. Approximately 16,000 new lupus cases are reported in the United States every year.

The Lupus Foundation of America has released data showing as many as 1.5 million Americans are living with this disease. Women between 15 and 44 years of age are the most susceptible.

This disease is not contagious and is unable to be transmitted from person to person including sexually. Although it is rare, if a woman has lupus, it can be passed down to her children in the form of neonatal lupus.

Until 2015, lupus did not have the attention of the general public. This was when Selena Gomez made the announcement she had been diagnosed with lupus as a teenager. She did receive the proper treatment for her condition.

What Are the Complications From the Disease?

The risk of numerous health issues increases with a lupus diagnosis. The death of bone tissue can happen if the blood supply to the bone is low. Tiny bone breaks will often develop.

As time passes, the bone can collapse. The most common joint impacted is the hip. Since both treatments and the disease itself cause the immune system to weaken, the risk of infection increases.

The most frequent infections include respiratory infections, salmonella, shingles, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and shingles.

The risk of preeclampsia, preterm birth, and pregnancy loss are higher for women with lupus. If preeclampsia is diagnosed, high blood pressure is included. The risk of these issues can be decreased by doctors.

Many physicians recommend making certain lupus is stable for a minimum of six months before becoming pregnant.

What is the Treatment for Lupus?

According to, although there is no cure, flares, and symptoms can be effectively managed with medication and lifestyle changes.

The treatment goals include decreasing organ damage risks and managing or preventing flares.

Medication is prescribed to:

  • Regulate immune system activity
  • Prevent or decrease organ and joint damage
  • Decrease infection risks
  • Decrease swelling and pain
  • Management of blood pressure
  • Hormonal balance
  • Cholesterol control

The specific treatment is dependent on how the individual has been affected by the disease. If lupus is not treated, the consequences of flares can be life-threatening.

The Bottom Line

When lupus was diagnosed in the past, the average survival rate was a maximum of five years. Today, modern treatments have substantially increased the lifespan of the individual.

Lupus can be managed with therapy to help the person enjoy a healthy and active life. As the scientific community continues to explore genetics, it may be possible to identify the earlier stages of lupus in the future.

Clinical trials are also conducted to provide individuals with access to many of the newer medications.

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