Toni Braxton Opens Up About Her Lupus Complications Ahead of Lupus Awareness Month
As Lupus Awareness Month approaches, Toni Braxton, a celebrated 55-year-old singer has opened up in national media interviews about her battle with lupus, which has resulted in heart and kidney complications and negatively affected her physical and emotional health.
Toni Braxton recently revealed in People that she underwent what she describes as a “traumatic” heart procedure after a life-threatening lupus complication. Braxton, who was diagnosed with lupus in 2008, shared that she’s been hospitalized “more times than I care to admit” from the chronic autoimmune disease that can attack any organ in the body and cause silent damage to vital organs. In Braxton’s case, lupus attacked her heart, leading to emergency surgery last September after doctors discovered 80% of the main artery in her heart was blocked.
Understand the effects that lupus has on your body
Lupus greatly increases the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), a blockage in the arteries that decreases blood flowing to the heart. If CAD goes undetected, as it nearly did for Braxton, it can cause a heart attack and death.
Lupus can also target the kidneys, causing a condition called lupus nephritis. Lupus nephritis is inflammation of the kidneys that can eventually lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.
People with lupus nephritis often don’t have symptoms in the early stages of the disease. This is why it’s important for them to be tested regularly for any sign of kidney damage. Thinking of her own experience with her heart and kidneys, Braxton has partnered with Aurinia Pharmaceuticals to urge lupus warriors to get routine testing and see doctors regularly, with the hopes of catching lupus nephritis earlier. An earlier diagnosis is crucial to avoiding kidney failure.
Work closely with your medical team
For people with lupus it’s important to listen to your body and take care of yourself. This means understanding the effect lupus can have on your body, working closely with your healthcare team and keeping your support network close.
Braxton specifically emphasized the importance of keeping regularly-scheduled appointments and having a treatment plan. To help with this, the Lupus Foundation of America offers SELF, a free online self-management program that helps you manage your relationship with your healthcare team, as well as your symptoms, stress and medications.
We applaud Toni Braxton for using her platform to share her difficult lupus journey with others to raise awareness and encourage individuals to take care of their health. We are celebrating Lupus Awareness Month in May to make lupus visible so that more people join the fight against this disease.
If you have questions about lupus, the National Resource Center on Lupus has answers. Or contact our Health Education Specialists by phone or by email for free to get the help you need.
Find out more about lupus: the symptoms, types, causes, and who is at risk for developing this chronic autoimmune disease.
The time you spend with your doctor is often very short. Follow these tips to make the most out of your next appointment.
The Lupus Foundation of America and our national partner network run lupus support groups nationwide. Find a group near you.
Our health educators are available to answer your questions and give you the help you need.Contact a Health Education Specialist