Kim Kardashian West has had her fair share of health scares, and the latest trailer for Season 17 of Keeping Up with the Kardashians revealed the reality star recently had another.
The trailer shows a clip of Kim in a doctor's office getting what appears to be an ultrasound of her hand, with a voiceover of her saying, "I feel this in my bones. I probably have lupus."
Another shot shoes Kim wiping teary eyes as mom Kris Jenner tells her, "Let's stay positive until we get some results."
While this sounds scary, let's try to take Kris' advice and stay calm until we find out more about Kim's situation. In the meantime, here's what you need to know about lupus.
What is lupus, exactly?
Healthy bodies typically produce antibodies that fight off germs and other foreign substances, but lupus occurs when this system malfunctions. Rather than defending against invaders, like viruses and bacteria, it produces antibodies that target and attack healthy tissue.
Scientists don’t know exactly what causes lupus, but they believe genetics may play a role. Gender and ethnicity can also contribute. The disease is more common in women than men, and in Hispanics and Africans than Caucasians.
Common symptoms of lupus include fever, fatigue, joint pain, or rash. A butterfly-shaped rash stretching from cheek to cheek across the bridge of the nose is a hallmark of the disease.
The kidneys are also particularly vulnerable in people with lupus. When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, people can develop swelling around the ankles and eyes (edema), blood in the urine, or weigh gain. Singer Selena Gomez, who's been open about her own lupus battle, underwent a because of issues related to the disease.
There unfortunately isn't a cure for lupus, but there are treatments that can help manage the disease. Doctors usually prescribe medicines to alleviate symptoms, prevent flare-ups, and minimize organ damage. Depending on a person’s symptoms and disease severity, they may be able to manage lupus flare-ups with pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines. Others will need immunosuppressant drugs or even chemotherapy to treat the condition.
Kim also suffers from pre-eclampsia, or dangerously high blood pressure, and , or when the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall, which ultimately led her to have her third and fourth children via surrogate.
It looks like the new season of KUWTK, which airs on Sunday, will tell whether Kim is indeed battling lupus—or if something else is going on.
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