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Celebrities Are Not Immune to the Pain of Lupus

Posted on September 21, 2017

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Nearly a year after announcing on Ellen that she had lupus, singer Selena Gomez recently shared on ABC News her struggle with the disease.

Lupus 101

Forced to take time off from performing, Gomez spent three months of this year on bed rest because of her health issues.


She also received chemotherapy to slow the progression of the disease and spent time in a rehab facility dealing with anxiety and depression caused by her condition.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system sees healthy tissues as a threat and attacks those tissues. The cause of lupus is unknown, but some researchers believe that hormonal fluctuations, environmental factors and genetics play a role in its development.

All parts of the body can be affected by lupus, but the disease frequently manifests in the skin, joints or organs.

The Lupus Foundation reports that 1.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with the condition.

There are two primary types of lupus: discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). SLE is more common than DLE.

Ninety percent of people living with lupus are women. Individuals of African, Asian or Native American heritage have a higher risk than Caucasians of developing lupus.

Lupus causes inflammation of the affected area as well as muscle and joint pain and stiffness, extreme fatigue, unexplained fever, hair loss, and skin rashes or scaly rashes. Many people with SLE  also experience dry mouth or ulcers of the mouth.

SLE can also cause serious side effects, like heart and lung disease and kidney failure. Some people with SLE also experience confusion, seizures and, like Gomez, depression.

People with the condition manage their symptoms with rest, pain relievers, NSAIDs and steroids. Other medications include immunosuppressive drugs designed to prevent the body from attacking itself.

“Managing the symptoms of lupus with conventional treatments can be frustrating and depressing for many people; it may take a lot of work to find the right combination of therapies to treat symptoms while the patient lives in pain,” according to Joel Singer, M.D.

Lupus and Stem Cell Therapy

Singer is a physician in New York who sees lupus patients who have struggled to find relief using conventional treatments.

“Conventional lupus therapies only target symptoms or slow the progression of the disease. They do not treat the underlying cause of the illness, which is the malfunctioning of the immune system,” Singer said.

Singer’s alternative to conventional treatment for lupus is adipose fat cell therapy.

Using the body’s stem cells to heal damaged tissue is an effective treatment that reduces pain and inflammation caused by the body’s attack on itself, Singer said.

“Stem cells have anti-inflammatory and healing properties that can reduce the pain and damage caused by lupus, but stem cells also possess the ability to ‘reset’ the immune system to keep it from malfunctioning and attacking itself,” Singer said.

The benefit of stem cell therapy makes the treatment not only beneficial for people with lupus, but also individuals with autoimmune conditions like scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, myasthenia gravis and Crohn’s disease.

Stem Cells Provide Big Benefits for People with Autoimmune Diseases

The American Autoimmune Related Disease Association estimates that 50 million Americans have an autoimmune disease, but many are undiagnosed.

“Autoimmune diseases frequently look like other disorders, or they may be mysterious and not look like anything at all, which makes pinpointing a diagnosis and designing treatment difficult,” Singer said.

The effects of autoimmune disease also vary from patient to patient.

To treat lupus patients with adipose fat stem cell therapy, Singer collects fat stem cells from the thigh or abdomen and redeploys them back into the patient. Once back in the body, these stem cells travel to areas damaged by lupus, guided by growth factor chemical “text messages.”

When the cells reach the affected area, they begin repairing tissue.

“Stem cell therapy for lupus patients is very exciting; patients see reduced inflammation and pain, less fatigue and fewer flareups,” Singer said.

Sources:
US Weekly. Selena Gomez Health: How Is Doing After Lupus Struggles And Rehab?. US Weekly 21 August 2017.

National Lupus Foundation. Lupus Facts and Statistics. 2017.

 

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