Mar. 05, 2012

Actor, Comedian, and Musician Nick Cannon Diagnosed with Lupus Nephritis

During an appearance on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, actor, comedian, and musician Nick Cannon announced that he has lupus-related kidney disease, called lupus nephritis.

Lupus is a disease that can affect any organ system and kidney involvement is one of the most serious manifestations of the disease. By publicly discussing a very personal health issue, Nick Cannon is helping to increase awareness of lupus and its health effects on the kidneys.

Lupus nephritis is a serious and sometimes fatal complication of lupus caused by inflammation in the kidneys, making them unable to properly remove waste from the blood or control the amount of fluids in the body. Abnormal levels of waste can build up in the blood, and edema (swelling) can develop. Left untreated, nephritis can lead to scarring and permanent damage to the kidneys and possibly end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Fortunately, for most people with lupus, including those with lupus nephritis, treatments are available that can help keep the disease under control. Advances in research and treatment are helping to identify and manage life-threatening complications of lupus and increase the quality of life for those whose kidneys are affected. However, lupus remains a very unpredictable and potentially life-threatening disease.

“Improvements in public understanding of the symptoms and health effects of lupus will lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment,” said Sandra C. Raymond, President & CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America. “As more people learn about lupus, the Lupus Foundation of America and its national network of chapters and support groups stand ready to provide education programs and support services to those who are affected by this challenging disease.”

Lupus nephritis is one of several areas of research supported by the Lupus Foundation of America National Research Program. Most recently, the Lupus Foundation of America funded studies on biomarkers to better diagnose and monitor lupus nephritis, as well as potential new treatments for this serious manifestation of lupus.

Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms vary from person to person and can change over time. African Americans are two or three times more likely to develop lupus than Caucasians. Men with lupus are more likely to develop kidney disease and to have a worse prognosis.

Lupus nephritis most often develops within the first five years after the symptoms of lupus start, and usually affects people between the ages of 20 and 40. It is estimated that as many as 40 percent of all people with lupus, and as many as two-thirds of all children with lupus, will develop kidney complications that require medical evaluation and treatment.