What is lupus? Halsey hints at diagnosis, is ‘lucky to be alive’

It affects one in one thousand Canadians and anyone can get it, but women between 15 and 45 years old are most affected, Lupus Canada says

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Singer Halsey hinted at a lupus and leukemia diagnosis in an Instagram post on Tuesday, saying she was “lucky to be alive.”

She shared a carousel of videos and a screenshot, and tagged the Lupus Research Alliance and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“Long story short, I’m lucky to be alive. Short story long, I wrote an album,” she captioned the post. Her account was flooded with messages of support. The Lupus Research Alliance responded, thanking Halsey for her bravery.

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“I told myself I’m giving myself two more years to be sick,” she said in the video that appears first in the carousel. “Thirty I’m having a rebirth. I’m not going to be sick and I’m going to look super hot and have lots of energy and I’m just going to get to redo my twenties in my thirties.”

She also shared a video where she said she was receiving treatment, although she did not explicitly state what it was for.

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What is lupus?

Although Halsey’s post brought attention to both leukemia — which is a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues, according to the not-for-profit medical group practice, the Mayo Clinic — and lupus, the latter is often more misunderstood. That is because lupus is a chronic illness with a wide variety of symptoms.

“Lupus occurs when the immune system, which normally helps protect the body from infection and disease, attacks its own tissues,” according to the American medical research agency National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Symptoms can be in one area or many areas of the body. They can go away and return at different times, and new symptoms can develop. Symptoms include arthritis, fever, different kinds of rashes, hair loss, fatigue, sores in the nose or mouth and many more, which the NIH includes online.

There are different kinds of lupus, but the most common is called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Non-profit organization Lupus Canada called it a “baffling condition” that can target tissue or organs, “including skin, muscles, joints, blood and blood vessels, lungs, heart, kidneys, and the brain.”

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It affects one in one thousand Canadians and anyone can get it; however, women between 15 and 45 years old are most affected, according to the non-profit.

Lupus is not contagious. It is believed to be caused by a combination of genetics and triggers in a person’s environment like exposure to sunlight, getting an infection or taking certain medications, the Mayo Clinic says.

There is currently no cure for lupus but treatment is available to reduce symptoms.

Who else has spoken out about Lupus?

Singer and actress Selena Gomez revealed that she was diagnosed with lupus in 2013, per GQ magazine.

“I don’t ever really like to sit and dwell on what that experience was,” she told the publication. “Was it fun? No. Is it fun to have it? No.”

Gomez had a kidney transplant due to her condition and the donor was her close friend, actress Francia Raisa, Gomez said in a 2017 Instagram post that received international attention.

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“Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made,” she shared in the post, which has since been liked more than 10 million times.

The daughter of rapper Snoop Dogg has also been vocal about her lupus diagnosis. After having a stroke earlier this year, she said she was “improving,” People reported.

She shared her experience on her Instagram account, saying she was diagnosed with the chronic illness when she was six years old.

“It’s an everyday battle. It’s an everyday struggle,” she said. “But it’s definitely something I can handle. When I say that, I mean it in the most positive way as I can say it. It’s always something new everyday — whether my toe hurts, my back hurts, I have a migraine … I just take it day by day. I don’t think I overcame it yet.”

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