Lupus has many shades. It can affect people of different races, ethnicities, and ages, both men and women. It can look like different diseases. It’s different for every person who has it and anyone can get it. But African Americans are four times more like to be lupus victims than other races.
Following is a list of black celebrities who have been diagnosed with the disease.
Women of color are two to three times more likely than white women to develop lupus, says Dawn Isherwood, a health educator with the Lupus Foundation of America.
Braxton, who revealed her diagnosis at a lupus benefit last November, recently tweeted: “Lupus medication actually causes most women to gain weight. But we’re still fabulous! I’m going to work it on out.”
Corticosteroids—one of the mainstays of lupus treatment—can indeed promote weight gain. Still, exercise can help people with lupus manage their weight and will also improve their quality of life, Isherwood says.
The famous British singer was diagnosed with discoid lupus when he was child. What could be considered trademark scarring on his face is a result of his illness.
The scars on the singer’s face are the result of discoid lupus erythematosus, a type of lupus involving only the skin. Discoid lupus typically causes sores on the face and scalp but can affect the skin anywhere on the body. It can also cause hair loss. People with discoid lupus are often sensitive to ultraviolet light, and need to be careful about sun exposure.
Ten percent of people with discoid lupus will go on to develop systemic lupus, Isherwood says, although it’s possible these individuals already had the illness but just weren’t diagnosed.
When playing left field for the Oakland Athletics in 1999, Raines sought medical attention for extreme fatigue. He had swelling in his knees and ankles and was 15 pounds heavier than normal, suggesting he was retaining water; his doctor ordered a kidney biopsy, and diagnosed lupus.
The disease was attacking Raines’ kidneys, throwing off the normal balance of water and salt in his body. His case was severe, but he improved with radiation therapy and medication. Raines even went back to baseball, joining the Montreal Expos in 2001, and retiring in 2002 with the Florida Marlins.
The King of Pop was no stranger to controversy or conversation about his health. In 1986, Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo and lupus; the vitiligo partially lightened his skin, and the lupus was in remission; both illnesses made him sensitive to sunlight, which could have caused his lupus condition to recur.
Jackson had a form of skin lupus, called discoid lupus, which affects about 40 percent of the patients with lupus, which can can lead to depigmentation of the skin, among other things.