The majority of the drama that Kim Kardashian faces is unrelatable to many of the people who keep up with her life at home. They do not deal with extravagant parties, being on TV, or any of the other activities that the Kardashians busy themselves with. But recently Kim Kardashian was diagnosed with lupus, something that about 1.5 million Americans can relate to. She called attention to her illness on her show, bringing awareness to something that tends to go ignored. Kim Kardashian is not the only celebrity that is calling for attention to invisible illnesses, which are diseases that are difficult to perceive due to the lack of external symptoms. Selena Gomez recently underwent a kidney transplant due to the severity of her lupus, and addressed her diagnosis publicly. Lupus is not the only illness that celebrities are drawing awareness to; Lady Gaga has made multiple public statements about her diagnosis of fibromyalgia and chronic pain. People that have massive followings are working to bring attention to these illnesses that millions of Americans have.
Lupus, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus, is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissue rather than infections or disease. Lupus causes inflammation, pain, and in severe cases, tissue damage to the joints, kidney, skin heart, lungs, and brain. People who have lupus can experience flare-ups, in which the symptoms are at their worst, and periods of remission, where they have little to no pain. Every case is different, and people experience various levels of severity. Lupus also disproportionately affects females and people of African American, Asian, and American Indian descent. It is also an invisible illness, meaning that there are no external factors that are noticeable to others. Because of this, many people go without a diagnosis. In fact, an average of six years passes between the onset of symptoms and the medical diagnosis for lupus, according to The Lupus Foundation of America. While there is no cure for lupus, treatment does exist. It is a lifelong process, and it can help to reduce flare-ups and pain.
Fibromyalgia is another invisible illness, and Lady Gaga has brought a considerable amount of attention to it. It is characterized by chronic pain and fatigue, and researchers believe that it amplifies the pain signals sent to your brain. Like lupus, each case is personalized to who has it. Due to this, the onset of the disease is different for everyone as well. It can be triggered by a certain traumatic event, such as a surgery or injury, or it can slowly accumulate. Another similarity to lupus is that it is more likely to affect women. There is no cure, but the illness can be managed by lifestyle changes, such as exercise, relaxation, and medication.
Attention to Invisible Illnesses
It is important to remember that some illnesses do not externally present themselves and that it is impossible to detect one of these sicknesses with the naked eye. Awareness should be spread, not only to help people realize that not all illnesses are external, but to help people who have been experiencing the symptoms and not known that a diagnosis exists for them. Many people have chronic pain and fatigue, unknowing that there is name for what they have and that treatment is available. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Selena Gomez, and Lady Gaga are all raising awareness for these illnesses, and more should be done in the future to help their efforts.
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