At the core of the immune system is the ability to tell the difference between what belongs to the body and what’s foreign. A flaw can make the body unable to tell the difference between self and non-self.
When this happens, the body makes auto-antibodies that attack normal cells by mistake. At the same time special cells called regulatory T cells fail to do their job of keeping the immune system in line.
The result is a misguided attack on your own body. This causes the damage we know as autoimmune disease. The body parts that are affected depend on the type of autoimmune disease. There are more than 80 known types.
Some autoimmune diseases are more common or more severely affect certain groups of people more than others. For instance, type 1 diabetes is more common in whites. Lupus is most severe for African Americans.
Here are just a few of the black celebrities who have been diagnosed with autoimmune diseases:
Lupus has many shades. It can affect people of different races,
ethnicities, and ages, both men and women. It can look like different
diseases. It’s different for every person who has it and anyone can get
it. But African Americans are four times more like to be lupus victims
than other races. Women of color are two to three times more likely than white women to develop lupus.
Braxton, who recently was hospitalized with lupus complications, originally revealed her diagnosis at a lupus benefit. She says, “Lupus medication actually causes most women to gain weight. But we’re still fabulous! I’m going to work it on out.”
Corticosteroids—one of the mainstays of lupus treatment—can indeed promote weight gain. Still, exercise can help people with lupus manage their weight and will also improve their quality of life, Isherwood says.
The 31-year-old has revealed that the kidney disease he was hospitalized for earlier this year was a result of an autoimmune disease, People magazine reported.
The kidney disease was caused by “autoimmune disease that [doctors] found in my system,” Cannon told People, and went on to say that the doctors told him his “autoimmune [disease] is — like a lupus type of thing, but no one else in my family has it.”
While Cannon didn’t explain further what his disease was, we know that autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells. There are more than 100 autoimmune diseases, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.
Seal – Lupus
The famous British singer was diagnosed with discoid lupus when he was child. What could be considered trademark scarring on his face is a result of his illness.
The scars on the singer’s face are the result of discoid lupus erythematosus, a type of lupus involving only the skin. Discoid lupus typically causes sores on the face and scalp but can affect the skin anywhere on the body. It can also cause hair loss. People with discoid lupus are often sensitive to ultraviolet light, and need to be careful about sun exposure.
Ten percent of people with discoid lupus will go on to develop systemic lupus, Isherwood says, although it’s possible these individuals already had the illness but just weren’t diagnosed.
Venus Williams – Sjogren’s Syndrome