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To Your Health: NLM update Transcript

Selena Gomez and lupus awareness: 11/06/2017

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Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov

Regards to all our listeners!

I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Here is what's new this week in To Your Health, a consumer health oriented podcast from NLM, that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.

While actress/singer Selena Gomez's recent kidney transplant was a surprise to her fans, her condition focuses new attention on lupus — her kidney disease's underlying medical cause.

Gomez, who is 25 years old, is outspoken about improving the public understanding of lupus, which is more common among African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American women than Caucasians.

MedlinePlus.gov's lupus health topic page notes lupus often impacts women of child-bearing age. Hence, lupus is more likely among Gomez's generation than senior citizens. On the other hand, lupus is not a well-known disease, which sometimes contributes to its delayed diagnosis and treatment.

MedlinePlus.gov's lupus health topic page explains lupus is an autoimmune disease. In all autoimmune diseases (which include arthritis), the normally beneficial immune system begins to attack healthy cells and tissues.

MedlinePlus.gov's lupus health topic page also notes lupus is difficult for patients to self-diagnose since its symptoms seem like many other illnesses. For example, lupus' symptoms include: muscle pain; joint swelling; hair loss; feeling very tired; and swelling in legs or around the eyes.

However, MedlinePlus.gov's lupus health topic page explains lupus can be diagnosed via a blood test, a skin biopsy, and a kidney biopsy.

MedlinePlus.gov's lupus health topic page explains there is no cure for lupus, but the disease can be managed, especially if diagnosed early.

Although lupus is more common among women, men are vulnerable. In fact, the global ambassador for the Lupus Foundation of America is singer/songwriter Julian Lennon, the son of the late John Lennon.

Julian Lennon's lupus-treatment activities as well as other information about the disease are accessible within the 'NIH MedlinePlus Magazine' section, which is on the right side of MedlinePlus.gov's lupus health topic page.

Some helpful information about the links between kidney disease and lupus (from the National Kidney Foundation) is available within the 'related issues' section of MedlinePlus.gov's lupus health topic page.

A link to a website from the aforementioned Lupus Foundation of America, which explains how to live with the disease, is available in the 'living with' section of MedlinePlus.gov's lupus health topic page.

MedlinePlus.gov's lupus health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the 'journal articles' section. Clinical trials that may be occurring in your area can be found in the 'clinical trials' section. You can sign up to receive updates about lupus as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.

To find MedlinePlus.gov's lupus health topic page, please type 'lupus' that's 'L...U...P...U...S' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'lupus (National Library of Medicine).' MedlinePlus.gov also has a health topic page devoted to autoimmune diseases. To find MedlinePlus.gov's autoimmune diseases health topic page, please type 'autoimmune diseases' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'autoimmune diseases (National Library of Medicine).'

Incidentally, a range of lupus and autoimmune disease experts told the Washington Post and other news services that Ms. Gomez's prognosis is promising — and she should be able to resume her successful career and live a full life. We salute Ms. Gomez's candor about lupus and her kidney transplant (with her best friend as a kidney donor), which was self-communicated via social media posts from her hospital bed. We hope Ms. Gomez's efforts will heighten lupus awareness and encourage some young adults to be mindful of the disease and seek treatment.

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The National Library of Medicine is one of 27 institutes and centers within the National Institutes of Health. The National Institutes of Health is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A disclaimer — the information presented in this program should not replace the medical advice of your physician. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease without first consulting with your physician or other health care provider.

It was nice to be with you. Please join us here next week and here's to your health!