In 2008, Toni collapsed while performing in Las Vegas. In the emergency room, doctors first thought she’d had a ‘baby heart attack.’ “Twenty-three percent of my microvalves and the small blood vessels in my heart were receiving no oxygen,” Toni recalls. Further testing led to a diagnosis. “The blood work was undeniable,” she says. “It showed I have lupus.”
Toni discovered lupus is a lifelong disease in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue. It affects about 1.5 million Americans, mostly women, and causes a range of symptoms, from rashes and joint pain to inflammation of the heart, lungs and other organs. “For some, it’s their skin and scalp,” Toni notes. “For me, it’s internal. It loves my heart. It’s like it wants to sit there and say, ‘Hi,’ and hang out.”
While there’s no cure for the disease, lupus symptoms can be managed using a number of different treatment options.
A person’s treatment plan will depend on the severity of your condition and whether you’ve recently been experiencing flares (times when symptoms are present).
Flares can range from mild to severe.
The goal of treatment is to prevent flares, treat flares when they occur, and limit organ damage and other potential complications.