Systemic lupus erythematosus, more commonly known as lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disease that occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own tissues and organs.
Lupus was the same disease that caused Selena Gomez’s kidneys to fail and in 2017 she received a life-saving kidney donation from actress friend Francia Raisa.
May 10 is marked every year as the World Lupus Day and raises awareness about the chronic autoimmune disease which people suffer from across the globe.
Here are a few things you need to know:
Lupus is a long term condition that has no known cure and is more commonly found in women than men.
At the moment medics are unsure what causes the illness but viral infections, strong medication, sunlight, puberty, childbirth and the menopause can all trigger it.
Lupus is often diagnosed by a blood test which will show up a high number of antibodies if the condition is present.
It causes inflammation of the joints, skin and other organs depending on if it is a mild, moderate or severe.
If the condition is mild sufferers will experience joint and skin problems and tiredness.
When it is present in a moderate form it causes inflammation of other parts of the skin and body, including lungs, heart and kidneys.
Severe lupus can cause irrevocable damage to the heart, lungs, brain or kidneys.
Signs and symptoms of lupus
The three common symptoms of the condition are joint pain and stiffness, extreme tiredness that won't go away not matter how much you rest, and skin rashes - generally over the nose and cheeks in a butterfly shape.
Other symptoms of lupus are weight loss, swollen glands, sensitivity to light which can cause rashes on exposed skin, and poor circulation in your fingers and toes.
Symptoms of the illness can flare up and disappear and in some cases suffers may experience severe symptoms for a few weeks or longer before they settle down again.
There is no cure for lupus but early treatment of the symptoms can reduce the risk of it getting worse and help control the symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen and hydroxychloroquine may be used for fatigue and skin and joint problems.
To manage kidney inflammation and rashes steroid tablets, injections and creams are issued to sufferers.
As the condition can cause kidney failure, required medicine for the same is also prescribed.
Selena Gomez and lupus
In an interview with NBC news, Selena Gomez said, “I would get fevers, headaches, I would get fatigue but I always just keep going and kind of ignored it to be honest because it wasn't something I maybe I really wanted to accept.”
Subsequently in a speech at a Lupus Alliance event in 2017 she said: "I was diagnosed with lupus about five or six years ago and I've been speaking out about my disease to raise awareness and so that people see a doctor right away if they feel they have any symptoms and just so that honestly people can understand what it means to live with lupus.”