Selena Gomez revealed that she underwent kidney transplant surgery as she continues to struggle with chronic lupus disease.
Lupus is a debilitating illness where the body’s immune system attacks healthy organs and tissue.
The 25-year-old was first diagnosed in 2015 and had to end her world tour early last year because of panic-related symptoms related to her chronic illness.
The disease affects five million people worldwide but is more prominent in females, according to the Lupus Foundation of America.
Selena’s best friend Francia Raisa gave her kidney to the singer whose diagnosis is known to attack areas of the organ and cause inflammation.
Selena Gomez posted a picture on Instagram showing her and her friend Francia Raisa (left) who donated her kidney to the singer. Selena first spoke about her illness in 2015
The singer also revealed her surgery scar from the transplant and how much weight she has lost because of the illness. Kidney transplants are necessary for people with lupus if the organ begins to fail because of the immune system attacking it
WHAT IS LUPUS AND HOW IS IT CAUSED?
Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is a chronic illness where the body’s immune system attacks its own antibodies even if they are healthy.
It is known as an ‘autoimmune’ disease because the immune system is attacking healthy tissue and organs instead of ones that are infected.
Some areas that are commonly at risk are the skin, joints, kidneys and brain.
The direct cause for lupus is unknown, but it can span from a combination of genetics and the environment.
About five million people worldwide have lupus and 90 percent of those people are women.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Lupus develops differently in each person.
Some might experience symptoms slowly such as tiredness or joint aches while others will have severe problems right away.
People also experience a ‘butterfly’ skin rash that forms around the cheeks and nose.
More severe symptoms include depression, lung disease, heart problems and kidney inflammation.
HOW DOES LUPUS IMPACT THE KIDNEYS
Lupus nephritis is a specific form of the chronic disease that attacks and inflames the kidneys.
The singer hasn’t made as many public appearances this summer as she has recovered from her transplant. Doctors have to monitor transplant patients closely to make sure the organ isn’t rejected. This is her during the Coach In-Store event during New York Fashion Week
Exercise could decrease the need for kidney transplants, a study claims
Researchers from the Ohio State University found that exercise can help lower the person’s need for a kidney transplant.
They studied mice who ran on treadmills and how it influenced their stress management.
Stress is a link to increasing symptoms chronic illnesses such as lupus.
And the researchers said that exercising helped lower the stress levels in the mice who ran on treadmills multiple days of the week.
Moderate exercise was also found to help improve inflammation in the body, another key symptoms that normally happens to the kidneys of people who have lupus.
The combination of lower-stress levels and inflammation could improve the need for lupus patients to need kidney transplants.
The researchers are now studying tai chi to see if it is a drug-free option to reduce inflammation in the body.
There is a tuft of capillaries in the kidneys called the glomerulus that work to filter the blood.
People with lupus will experience their immune system attacking this area of the organ that prevents it from doing its normal job in the body.
Patients who have lupus in their kidneys will go on medication to reduce the inflammation and prevent the immune system from attacking that area.
But if the lupus nephritis reaches a certain stage, it can cause kidney failure and force the patient to go on dialysis or get a kidney transplant.
Kidney transplants are recommended to patients who are experiencing kidney failure or whose lupus is progressing towards the potential point of failing.
Doctors have found kidney transplants to help prevent lupus from going back into the organ once the patient has a new one.
WHAT MAKES A KIDNEY TRANSPLANT SUCCESSFUL?
The kidneys have several important functions in the body including filtering waste out of the bloodstream and eliminating excess water or toxins in the urine.
People need a kidney transplant if they have severe kidney disease or if the organ is failing.
To determine if someone is a match to donate a kidney, they have to have matching blood types with the receiver.
If this isn’t possible, doctors can lower the antibody levels in both people to see if the organ can still be a match.
Tissue typing tests (HLA) are taken to also determine if the body will reject or accept the intended donor organ.
Parents and siblings are 50 percent likely to match with someone who needs a donation.
The numbers drop for people outside of the family.
But the most common way that people receive a kidney donation is from someone who has died.
And many people struggle to find a match that is suitable for them.
People can spend years on the transplant list and on dialysis while waiting for a donor match.
Like most surgical procedures, a kidney transplant can cause short-term risks such as blood clots and infection.
Long-term risks can be weight gain, high blood pressure and an increased risk of cancer.
HOW IS LUPUS TREATED?
There is no current treatment for lupus. People diagnosed with the chronic illness can do a combination of medication and treatment to control the symptoms.
Doctors will prescribe anti-inflammatory, steroid pills or stress-management drugs to help patients with the illness.
Chemotherapy is also a treatment course even though lupus and cancer are not similar diagnosis.
Instead of injecting the drug into their bloodstream, people with lupus will take it orally.
Chemotherapy can help suppress the immune system and prevent it from attacking organs and tissue in the body.
This chronic illness will have to be managed by the person for their entire life.