Celebrities with autoimmune diseases

Justin Bieber’s battle with Lyme disease exposes the gnarly reality of celebrity life

But not everyone has been supportive: After Bieber confirmed his diagnosis with a post on Instagram, many people — including some particularly vicious Selena Gomez stans — tried downplaying the severity of the disease. Some even celebrated the singer’s diagnosis, prompting Hailey and Justin to each separately address the haters on social media.

One thing Bieber’s diagnosis drives home is just how little we really know about celebrities’ lives. The public might be privy to videos of Bieber playing “bottle frisbee” in his mansion, but the dull stuff — the doctors’ appointments, the pain, the mundanity of being human — doesn’t make it to Instagram.

When we do see the bad parts, often captured by paparazzi, they get blown out of proportion, when they’re only fragments of the whole story. Who among us isn’t a wholly embarrassing human 90% of the time when we think no one is looking? Imagine the mental fortitude it takes trying to “act normal” every time you step out of the house, especially when your body feels like crap.

I think Bieber has a whole host of demons he’s battling, many of them foisted on him by the Hollywood machine he grew up in. But I also wish him well as he navigates treatment for Lyme and the other health afflictions that are plaguing him. Doing it in public has got to be gnarly.

Justin Bieber is one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 150 million records, and is in the top three most followed global users of Twitter. Speculation had been increasing on social media recently as to his frail physical appearance and whether recreational drugs may be playing a part in this but in the last fortnight the 25-year old has announced that his condition is due to a diagnosis of Lyme disease for which he is receiving treatment. He also declared that he is suffering from glandular fever which has been impacting his overall health.

Lyme disease – named after the American town where it was first described – is a bacterial infection caused by being bitten by a tick infected with the germ borrelia. Although still unknown to many people its incidence in the UK has been steadily increasing in recent years and there now may be several thousand cases annually although exact numbers are unclear because many resolve with no treatment, and the affected person may not be aware of having the disease.

Most cases of Lyme disease in the UK have been from the southern counties and are typically found in outdoor areas such as national parks, forests and downs. Outdoor and forestry workers in these areas are therefore most at risk but tourists and walkers are also often affected too.

Fortunately, most ticks in this country are not infected by the Lyme disease bacterium so the majority of tick bites are harmless and only infected ticks that bite and cling on to the skin cause this health problem. Ticks do not fly or jump but climb onto people as they brush past the long grass or foliage they are found in. Most people diagnosed with Lyme disease have no recollection of being bitten but the longer an infected tick remains in contact with the skin the greater the chance of infection developing.

The classical skin reaction at the site of a Lyme infected tick bite is called a ‘bullseye’ rash where there is a single red mark that occurs several days later and which slowly spreads out in a circle over several days. As it does so, a paler inner area develops leading to the typical bullseye appearance. (This is different to other insect bites that often cause a more immediate generalised red blotchy mark that soon fades.) It is not usually painful or itchy and many people do not even notice it, with it slowly clearing away within a month.

There may be flu-like symptoms at this time in around a third of bitten people and although the body may clear the infection completely with no treatment it may progress to stages of the disease where there are joint pains – especially of the knees – dizziness, breathlessness, weakness and malaise and problems with memory and concentration. In the long-term there may be chronic fatigue and joint pains called ‘post-Lyme syndrome’ which can be mistaken for other problems such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.

The diagnosis in its initial stage is made from the clinical appearance of the rash and the symptoms present but in its later stages blood tests are required although these are not always conclusive. Fortunately, most people are diagnosed at an early stage before the disease progresses, and are treated with a course of antibiotics for several weeks. Recent treatment guidelines now state that anyone with the classical rash of Lyme disease should be treated for it automatically without waiting for any tests to be done.

Infection with Lyme disease does not confer future immunity from the disease in an individual so tick bite prevention measures need to continue. These include being aware of areas where infected ticks may live, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long trousers when walking, and inspecting your body for ticks every day if there is a chance you may have been exposed to them. If a tick is found, do not squeeze it or try to pull it off with your fingers. Instead, use a tick removal device to pull it up and away from the skin without crushing it.

Although it can be difficult to treat post-Lyme disease, most cases fortunately slowly clear with time so we can expect the Justin Bieber trajectory to continue, and with an upcoming documentary series on his health issues in the pipeline, Lyme disease will remain in the spotlight for some time to come.


According to a source who had seen the preview of the documentary series, Justin Bieber had been feeling extremely depressed and lethargic in 2019, having his Lyme disease misdiagnosed as depression.


The most common symptoms of Lyme disease are fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash called erythema migrans, and can be treated over several weeks with antibiotics.

However, if the infection is left untreated it can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system.

Justin Bieber has addressed his Lyme diagnosis on Instagram, confirming he has been battling the illness for some time.


“While a lot of people kept saying Justin Bieber looks like shit, on meth etc. they failed to realize I’ve been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, not only that but had a serious case of chronic mono which affected my, skin, brain function, energy, and overall health,” Justin wrote on social media.

“These things will be explained further in a docu-series I’m putting on YouTube shortly,” Justin continued.

“You can learn all that I’ve been battling and OVERCOMING!! It’s been a rough couple years but getting the right treatment that will help treat this so far incurable disease and I will be back and better than ever NO CAP.”


There are loads of celebs that are currently suffering from Lyme disease (what’s up LA?) including Bella Hadid, Shania Twain and Avril Lavigne.

Photo, Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP.

In a new interview with People, Mariah Carey revealed that she has been struggling with bipolar II disorder since 2001. The singer was diagnosed after experiencing a mental and physical breakdown so severe that she needed to be hospitalized.

Mariah is just one of several celebrities who have revealed their struggle with a chronic, often invisible, illness. Last fall, Lady Gaga had to postpone her tour due to pain from her fibromyalgia, and in an Instagram post Selena Gomez revealed that she had undergone a kidney translate due to complications from her lupus.

Here, Mariah Carey and 8 other celebrities speak publicly on what it’s like living with their chronic illnesses.

I’m grateful to be sharing this part of my journey with you. @mrjesscagle @people

A post shared by Mariah Carey (@mariahcarey) on Apr 11, 2018 at 3:58am PDT

Mariah Carey — Bipolar II Disorder

“I didn’t want to carry around the stigma of a lifelong disease that would define me and potentially end my career…Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me. It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore… I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music. As hard as this is, I also knew it was time to finally share my story.” — People, April 2018

About bipolar disorder: A mental health condition (formerly known as manic depression) that is characterized by extreme mood swings, from mania (high energy, euphoria) to severe depression (feelings of hopelessness). There are different types of this disorder: Bipolar I is the most severe and can result in psychosis (a total break from reality); in Bipolar II there often isn’t a break from reality, but the depressive periods tend to last longer and be more impairing. Treatment often involves a combination of therapy and medication.

A post shared by xoxo, Gaga (@ladygaga) on Sep 8, 2017 at 9:29am PDT

Lady Gaga — Fibromyalgia

“I use the word ‘suffer’ not for pity, or attention, and have been disappointed to see people online suggest that I’m being dramatic, making this up, or playing the victim to get out of touring. If you knew me, you would know this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m a fighter. I use the word suffer not only because trauma and chronic pain have changed my life, but because they are keeping me from living a normal life. They are also keeping me from what I love the most in the world: performing for my fans.”
—Instagram, Sept. 2017

About fibromyalgia: A widespread disorder that cause musculoskeletal pain and fatigue along with sleep, memory and mood issues, it’s believed that fibromyalgia affects the way the brain processes pain, causing painful sensations to be amplified. There is no cure, but medications can help ease symptoms.

A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on Sep 14, 2017 at 3:07am PDT

Selena Gomez — Lupus

“I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of…I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering… Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made.”
—Instagram, Sept. 2017

About lupus: A chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease in which the patient’s body attacks its own tissue and organs, lupus most commonly affects the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. While the butterfly-shaped facial rash (called a malar rash) is probably the most well-known association with lupus, the rash only occurs in some patients. There is no cure, but medications can help control symptoms.

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Jun 30, 2017 at 9:27pm PDT

Kim Kardashian — Psoriasis

“Sometimes I just feel like it’s my big flaw and everyone knows about it, so why cover it?… Everyone with psoriasis has different symptoms; sometimes the rashes are itchy, sometimes they’re flaky. Mine flares up from time to time for different reasons,’ she explained…I’m always hoping for a cure, of course, but in the meantime, I’m learning to just accept it as part of who I am.”
—”Living with psoriasis,” a post on kimkardashianwest.com, August 2016

About psoriasis: A skin disorder that accelerates the life of skin cells, causing them to quickly build up and form scaly red patches, which can be painful and itchy, psoriasis is a chronic disease that waxes and wanes. Treatment depends on the severity of the disorder and can range from topical creams in mild cases, to immunosuppressants in more severe ones.

A post shared by Venus Williams (@venuswilliams) on Aug 10, 2017 at 11:30am PDT

Venus Williams — Sjogren’s

“The fatigue is hard to explain unless you have it…ome mornings I feel really sick, like when you don’t get a lot of sleep or you have a flu or cold. I always have some level of tiredness…You almost get used to having all these symptoms. You tell yourself to shake it off. Just keep going.”
—New York Times, Sept. 2011

About Sjogren’s: An autoimmune disorder that affects the mucus membranes and moisture-secreting glands, Sjogren’s often affects the eyes and mouth first. It is most common in women and often accompanies other rheumatic autoimmune disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment is determined by what part of the body is affected and can range from eye drops and mouthwashes to surgery to plug tear ducts (to help eyes retain moisture) in severe cases.

A post shared by Amy Landecker (@amylandecker) on Jun 5, 2017 at 7:57am PDT

Amy Brenneman — Ulcerative Colitis

“It started subtly with cramping. Then urgency. Rushing to the restroom. Weight loss. Hair loss. Visits to a homeopath, naturopath, nutritionist, acupuncturist, and massage therapist. Countless medications and ultimately surgery.”
—Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

About Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis: Diseases that causes inflammation in the digestive tract, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and even malnutrition. Complications from Crohn’s disease can be life-threatening. There is no cure, but anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as immunosuppressants, along with other drug treatments, can often help relieve symptoms.

A post shared by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on Aug 23, 2017 at 9:08am PDT

Lena Dunham — Endometriosis

“From the first time I got my period, it didn’t feel right. The stomachaches began quickly and were more severe than the mild-irritant cramps seemed to be for the blonde women in pink-hued Midol commercials. Those might as well have been ads for yogurt or the ocean, that’s how little they conveyed my experience of menstruating.”
—Lenny Letter, Nov. 2015

About endometriosis: In endometriosis, tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus and often involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes and pelvic lining. In severe cases, this tissue can extend beyond the pelvic region. Pain medication is the most common treatment, followed by hormone treatment and surgery in more severe cases.

A post shared by Bella Hadid (@bellahadid) on Sep 11, 2017 at 2:17pm PDT

Bella Hadid — Lyme Disease

“I know what it feels like to not want to get out of bed from bone pains and exhaustion and days on end of not wanting to socialize or be around people because the anxiety and brain fog just isn’t worth it.”
—In a speech at the Global Lyme Alliance Gala, Oct. 2016

About lyme disease: A tick-borne illness, lyme disease often starts as a small rash, followed by flu-like symptoms. As the disease progresses, people may develop joint pain, neurological problems, fatigue, heart problems as well as eye and/or liver inflammation. Lyme disease is hard to diagnoses, but can be treated with antibiotics — even after treatment, though, some people still suffer from muscle aches and fatigue.

A post shared by Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) on Jul 12, 2017 at 5:43pm PDT

Zoe Saldana — Hashimoto’s

“Sometimes, it’s good to share little things of what your struggles are. It’s not impeding my quality of life. It just means I have to be a little more conscientious of how I live and what I put into my body because I have this predisposed situation.”
—Extra, July 2015.

About Hashimoto’s disease: An autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the thyroid. The inflammation caused by this attack often leads to hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid). Symptoms can include development of a goiter, low thyroid hormone levels in the blood, fatigue, hair loss, brittle nails, unexplained weight gain and more. Treatment often includes taking thyroid hormone replacement pills.

Venus Williams: The champion trying to slam Sjogren’s syndrome

Venus Williams won in Dubai last month to end a trophy drought which stretched back to 2012. The 33-year-old, who will compete at this week’s Miami Open, has won 45 WTA titles. HIDE CAPTION Battling back Facing a fight Downwards spiral Girl power Going for gold Grand slam winner Business sense << < 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 > >> STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Venus Williams opens up on her battle with Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Still harbors ambitions of winning grand slam tournaments
  • Has turned to a new vegan diet to help overcome health problems
  • Wants to be remembered for helping “grow the game”

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(CNN) — Everyone has had one of those mornings — you wake up groggy, can’t face going to work, dive back under the covers and go back to sleep.

Venus Williams knows what that feels like.

Once the world’s top woman tennis player, she is now rebuilding her career as she battles Sjogren’s syndrome, a debilitating autoimmune disease.

It has forced the American to reevaluate her lifestyle and everything she had once taken for granted.

“I realized I had to get working, so there were days at the beginning where I did feel like I wanted to stay in bed,” Williams told CNN’s Open Court.

“But I don’t because it makes me anxious, I have to get to work. my motto now is that is all adds up, so if I can only do a little bit this day, it will add up, and it’s better than if I get discouraged and don’t do anything. That’s when I really start sliding downhill.”

So the seven-time grand slam champion threw back the covers and, with the aid of a new exercise regime and a vegan diet, began to try to live with the illness — and continue to play professional sport.

“It has been a challenge, and a challenge to myself, and really just knowing that I can’t be defeated by anything,” she adds.

“Not being able to practice has most definitely affected my game … not really being able to work on the things you need to work on, just speed and agility.

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“I can’t get all those extra little things you need, and it’s hard to get motivated if you don’t feel well too.

“There’s only so much you can do, so I’ve definitely had to adjust a lot but I just see it as a challenge because in my life I’ve never been defeated by anything.

“I’ve lost and I’ve had to learn — but I’ve never had to lay down the towel, so to speak. “

Sjogren’s is notoriously difficult to diagnose as it presents symptoms common with many other ailments. It is also incurable.

In 2011 Williams revealed to the world she had the syndrome, which forced her to withdraw during that year’s U.S. Open.

According to the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation, around four million Americans have the illness, making it the second most common autoimmune disease after rheumatoid arthritis, and ahead of lupus. Around 90% of the people with the syndrome are women.

Symptoms range from joint pain and dry mouth to having a burning sensation in the eyes, digestive problems and fatigue.

First identified in 1933 by Dr. Henrik Sjogren, it can be treated with over-the-counter medicines such as eye drops and anti-dry-mouth medicine.

pic.twitter.com/wCYrSkHdqJ— Venus Williams (@Venuseswilliams) December 30, 2013

Some patients wait over four years to be diagnosed and while Williams’ wait was lengthy, the news when it came was greeted with an overriding sense of relief not just by her, but by her younger sister Serena.

“It was a relief to get the answers we didn’t have,” the 17-time grand slam winner told Open Court.

“We wanted to know why she got tired and why she never woke up with any energy. I think overall, it was sad for us but at the same time we were happy that we knew what was wrong.”

Serena, who has had health complications of her own having to recover from potentially fatal blood clots on the lungs, believes her sister is “so much happier and has been for a while,” after getting to grips with the syndrome.

For Venus, who reigned supreme on the tennis court for long and so successfully, the realization that she was now facing a vastly different battle took some time to adjust to.

At 33, some may suggest her best days may be behind her — not that you would have known it following her victory at last month’s Dubai Open.

1st look @ #Miami @SonyOpenTennis dress! Excited to take stripe collection to the courts. #LookGoodPlayWell pic.twitter.com/8sqqdRBQnI

— EleVen by Venus (@EleVenbyVenus) March 17, 2014

The 45th WTA title of her illustrious career was reward for an indefatigable spirit and determination which has been so sorely tested.

Whether she can still challenge for a grand slam title remains open to question — not since 2008 has she triumphed at one of the sport’s top events.

A five-time Wimbledon winner, the grass courts of the All England Club still remain her best hope of success, though she has not reached the final there since 2009, when she was beaten by her sister.

“I would love to play and win another title at Wimbledon — that would be amazing,” says Venus, who lost in the first round of January’s Australian Open despite romping through the opening set.

“I’m not limiting myself to that because I want to win them all, but you know the courts have changed so much. Back in the day when you go out in Wimbledon the first few days, you felt like you couldn’t play tennis and now you adjust so quickly.

“The courts have become a lot slower, the game is a little bit different, but I still love the grass.”

#WinningInEleVen pic.twitter.com/mhUwi49x6B— EleVen by Venus (@EleVenbyVenus) February 22, 2014

While Williams accepts she is entering the twilight of her career, that has not dulled her enthusiasm or ambition.

Second-ranked Li Na won the Australian Open a month before she turned 32, while Serena — who is 33 in September — is the oldest No.1 in the history of the women’s game.

Age is not a barrier according to Venus — not one that she is willing to accept, anyway.

“I feel like I’m a great tennis player,” she says.

“I know how to play the game and there’s such a trend of people playing until they are older because you know so much about the game.

“If you continue to play, you can really use that knowledge and I want to be able to finish on my own terms.

“I don’t want to be pushed out of the game because of other reasons other than that I wanted to leave. When I’m ready to go I’ll go — but at this moment I think I can still do it.”

Post-practice, in my EleVen whites, and enjoying time with Harold! #tennis pic.twitter.com/Ji4x48Eorf

— EleVen by Venus (@EleVenbyVenus) February 4, 2014

Whenever Williams does step away from tennis, she will have her hands full with an array of different projects.

She already has her own successful fashion range, EleVen, which is now clothing several younger tennis stars on the circuit.

On top of that, she also part-owns the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise, something she says is “wonderful to be a part of.”

But she wants to be remembered for her achievements on the tennis court.

Not all those grand slam victories and Olympic gold medals, or the incredible power and precision of her game — but for helping to bring the game to a new generation of fans around the world.

“I think we all dream of winning tournaments but we don’t think of being more of a force in the game of tennis other than for ourselves,” she says.

“For me that would be the best legacy.”

Read: Venus Williams — The tennis star with ‘nothing to lose’

Read: Dress to impress — Venus’ style revival

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9 Celebrities with Lupus

Lupus defined

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in various organs. Symptoms can range from mild to severe to even nonexistent depending on the individual. Common early symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • fever
  • joint stiffness
  • skin rashes
  • thinking and memory problems
  • hair loss

Other more serious symptoms can include:

  • gastrointestinal problems
  • pulmonary issues
  • kidney inflammation
  • thyroid problems
  • osteoporosis
  • anemia
  • seizures

According to The Johns Hopkins Lupus Center, around 1 in 2,000 people in the United States have lupus, and 9 out of 10 diagnoses occur in women. Early symptoms can occur in the teenage years and extends to adults in their 30s.

Although there is no cure for lupus, many people with lupus live relatively healthy and even extraordinary lives. Here is a list of nine famous examples:

1. Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez, American actress and pop singer, recently revealed her diagnosis of lupus in an Instagram post that documented the kidney transplant she needed due to this disease.

During flare-ups of lupus, Selena has had to cancel tours, go on chemotherapy, and take significant time off from her career to get well again. When she is well, she considers herself very healthy.

2. Lady Gaga

Although having never shown symptoms, this American singer, songwriter, and actress tested borderline positive for lupus in 2010.

“So as of right now,” she concluded in an interview with Larry King, “I do not have it. But I have to take good care of myself.”

She went on to note that her aunt died of lupus. Although there’s a higher risk for developing the disease when a relative has it, it’s still possible for the disease to lie dormant for many, many years — possibly the length of a person’s lifetime.

Lady Gaga continues to focus public attention on lupus as an acknowledged health condition.

3. Toni Braxton

This Grammy Award–winning singer has openly struggled with lupus since 2011.

“Some days I can’t balance it all,” she said in an interview with Huffpost Live in 2015. “I just have to lay in bed. Pretty much when you have lupus you feel like you have the flu every day. But some days you get through it. But for me, if I’m not feeling well, I tend to tell my kids, ‘Oh mommy’s just going to relax in bed today.’ I kind of take it easy.”

Despite her multiple hospital stays and dedicated days to resting, Braxton said she’s still never let her symptoms force her to cancel a show.

“Even if I can’t perform, I still figure it out. Sometimes I look back that evening I go, ‘How did I get through that?’”

In 2013, Braxton appeared on the Dr. Oz show to discuss living with lupus. She continues to be monitored regularly while still recording and performing music.

4. Nick Cannon

Diagnosed in 2012, Nick Cannon, a multitalented American rapper, actor, comedian, director, screenwriter, producer, and entrepreneur, first experienced severe symptoms of lupus, including kidney failure and blood clots in his lung.

“It was super scary just because you don’t know… you’ve never heard of ,” he said in an interview with HuffPost Live in 2016. “I knew nothing about it until I was diagnosed.… But to me, I’m healthier now than I’ve ever been before.”

Cannon stresses how important diet and taking other precautionary measures are to be able to forestall flare-ups. He believes that once you recognize that lupus is a livable condition, it’s then possible to overcome it with certain lifestyle changes and maintaining a strong support system.

5. Seal

This award-winning English singer/songwriter first showed signs of a specific type of lupus called discoid lupus erythematous at age 23 with the emergence of facial scarring.

Although he’s not as outspoken about lupus as other celebrities living with the disease, Seal often talks about his art and music as a means through which to channel pain and suffering.

“I believe that in all forms of art there has to have been some initial adversity: that is what makes art, as far as I’m concerned,” he told an interviewer at The New York Times in 1996. “And it’s not something you outlive: once you experience it, it’s always with you.”

6. Kristen Johnston

Diagnosed at age 46 with lupus myelitis, a rare form of lupus affecting the spinal cord, this comedic actress first showed signs of lupus when struggling to climb a flight of stairs. After 17 different doctors’ visits and months of painful tests, Johnson’s final diagnosis allowed her to receive treatment with chemotherapy and steroids, and she achieved remission six months later.

“Every single day is a gift, and I don’t take one second of it for granted,” she said in an interview with People in 2014.

Johnston now practices sobriety after many years battling alcohol abuse and drug addiction.

“Everything was always masked by drugs and alcohol, so to go through this terrible experience it’s — I don’t know, I’m just a really happy human being. I’m just very grateful, very grateful.”

In 2014 Johnston also attended the 14th Annual Lupus LA Orange Ball in Beverly Hills, California, and has since continued to speak publically about the severity of her disease.

7. Trick Daddy

Trick Daddy, an American rapper, actor, and producer, was diagnosed years ago with discoid lupus, although he no longer takes Western medicine to treat it.

“I stopped taking any medicine that they was giving me because for every medicine they gave me, I had to take a test or another medicine every 30 days or so to make sure that medicine wasn’t causing side effects — dealing with kidney or liver failure… I just said all together I ain’t taking no medicine,” he said in an interview with Vlad TV in 2009.

Trick Daddy told the interviewer he believes that many lupus treatments are Ponzi schemes, and that instead he continues to practice his “ghetto diet,” and that he feels wonderful, having had no recent complications.

8. Shannon Boxx

This Gold-medal-winning American Olympic soccer player was diagnosed in 2007 at age 30 while playing for the U.S. National Team. During this time, she began showing repeated symptoms of fatigue, joint pain, and muscle soreness. She announced her diagnosis publically in 2012 and began working with the Lupus Foundation of America to spread awareness of the disease.

Before finding the right medication to tame her symptoms, Boxx told an interviewer at CNN in 2012 that she would “will herself” through her training sessions and later collapse on the couch for the remainder of the day. The medicine she currently takes helps to control the number of potential flare-ups, as well as the amount of inflammation in her body.

Her advice to others living with lupus:

“I believe it’s very important to have a support system — friends, family, the Lupus Foundation, and the Sjögren’s Foundation — that understands what you are going through. I think it’s important that you have someone who understands that you can feel good a majority of the time, but are there for you when a flare-up happens. I also believe it’s important to stay active, whatever level of activity feels comfortable to you. I hope this is where I have inspired people. I haven’t let this disease stop me from doing the sport that I love.”

9. Maurissa Tancharoen

Diagnosed with lupus at a very early age, Maurissa Tancharoen, American television producer/writer, actress, singer, dancer, and lyricist, experiences chronic severe flare-ups that attack her kidneys and lungs, and also inflame her central nervous system.

In 2015, wanting to have a baby, she worked closely with her rheumatologist on a plan to attempt to have a child after two years of maintaining her lupus in a controlled state. After multiple scares and a long hospital stay during her pregnancy to keep her kidneys functioning properly, she gave birth early to a “little miracle” named Benny Sue.

“And now as a mom, a working mom,” she told an interviewer at the Lupus Foundation of America in 2016, an organization she and her husband strongly support, “it’s even harder because I could care less about myself. But if I’m not healthy, I’m not my best self for my daughter. I’m not going to miss some incredible milestone by resting for a half hour. That’s something I have to do for her and my husband.”

10 Celebrities with Chronic Illnesses

(Image credit: PAN Photo Agency | .com)

They may be beautiful, rich and famous, but celebrities are human too, and that means they’re just as prone to getting sick as the rest of us.

And just like us, some celebs even live with chronic conditions that can take a toll on their day-to-day lives.

So, in addition to spa treatments and relaxing getaways, celebrities also take time out of their busy schedules to be poked and prodded by doctors. And while their assistants may pick up their prescriptions, they still need to make sure to take their meds.

Though being diagnosed with a condition is always unfortunate, a celebrity’s illness can sometimes offer a silver lining to others with the condition by helping to raise awareness of the disease.

Take, for example, Angelina Jolie’s 2013 announcement in The New York Times that she had undergone a double mastectomy after learning that she carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, which increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer. Researchers dubbed the increase in awareness of the role of genetics in breast cancer “The Angelina Effect.”

Here are 10 celebrities with chronic illnesses and how they live with them.

Selena Gomez: Lupus

Selena Gomez (Image credit: Joe Seer/.com)

Pop star Selena Gomez canceled her 2013 tour when she was diagnosed with lupus.

After her diagnosis, Gomez underwent a round of treatment and took a break from the public eye, she told Billboard magazine in 2015.

The chronic autoimmune disease is much more common in women than in men, and is typically diagnosed when women are of childbearing age.

When a person has lupus, the body attacks its own cells as if they were harmful invaders, according to the Lupus Foundation of America. This can cause symptoms throughout the body, ranging from skin rashes and mouth ulcers to kidney problems and inflammation of various organs.

There is no cure for lupus, but there are treatments, such as corticosteroids and monoclonal antibodies, to help people with the condition manage their symptoms. For people with more serious forms of the disease, drugs that were developed to treat cancer may be used.

Other celebs, such as Nick Cannon, Lady Gaga, Toni Braxton and Seal, also have lupus.

Lena Dunham: Endometriosis

(Image credit: DFree | .com )

Writer and actress Lena Dunham described her decade-long struggle with endometriosis in her November 2015 newsletter, Lenny Letter.

Dunham said that, since puberty, she has suffered from irregular periods, abdominal pain and chronic exhaustion. Her life changed the moment she finally received the diagnosis of endometriosis, Dunham wrote.

Endometriosis occurs when cells from the lining of the uterus become displaced and grow in other areas of the abdomen or body, leading to pain and irregular bleeding. The condition can also cause problems when women try to get pregnant.

Medications can help women manage the pain associated with endometriosis and slow the progression of the disease. In some scenarios, surgery is used to remove growths of endometrial cells from the body, according to the Endometriosis Foundation of America.

Other celebrities with endometriosis include Susan Sarandon, Padma Lakshmi and Jillian Michaels.

Charlie Sheen: HIV

Charlie Sheen, who announced today (Nov. 17, 2015) he is HIV positive, is seen here at a movie opening in Los Angeles on May 7, 2015. (Image credit: CarlaVanWagoner / .com)

Actor Charlie Sheen made headlines in 2015 when he announced in an interview with Matt Lauer on the NBC show “Today” that he is HIV positive.

Sheen had learned of his diagnosis about four years prior to his announcement, he said.

But HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is no longer considered a death sentence as it was decades ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 1.2 million Americans are currently living with HIV.

HIV destroys one type of immune system cell, called T cells, which makes it difficult for people with the virus to fight off infections. When HIV has wiped out a larger percentage of a person’s T cells, he or she is considered to have acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS.

Today, medications known as antiretroviral therapy can help slow the progression of HIV and also protect the body’s immune system, according to the CDC.

And new preventive medications called pre-exposure prophylaxis, which can be taken as a daily pill, have been shown to be highly effective in preventing infection with HIV in people who have a high risk of contracting it.

Tom Hanks: Diabetes

Tom Hanks & Thomas Horn at the 2012 Palm Springs Film Festival Awards Gala at the Palm Springs Convention Centre. January 7, 2012 (Image credit: Paul Smith / Featureflash | )

Actor Tom Hanks announced that he has type 2 diabetes during an interview on the “Late Show with David Letterman” in 2013.

Hanks said he had been dealing with high blood sugar levels for years when his doctor told him they were high enough to meet the criteria for diabetes, he told Letterman. (When a person’s blood sugar levels are elevated but not high enough to be considered diabetes, they have what is known as “prediabetes.”)

When a person has diabetes, the body cannot effectively control its blood sugar levels. Diabetes can increase a person’s risk for heart disease and, if unmanaged, can cause serious problems, including nerve damage, blindness and kidney failure.

A 2015 study from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases found that about half of American adults have either diabetes or prediabetes.

Type 2 diabetes can be managed with regular exercise and a healthy diet.

Actress Halle Berry and celebrity chef Paula Deen also have announced that they have diabetes.

Kim Kardashian: Psoriasis

(Image credit: DFree | .com )

After finding red, flaky patches of skin on her legs in 2011, the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star was diagnosed with psoriasis on an episode of her family’s TV reality show. Her mother, Kris Jenner, also has the disease.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, meaning the condition results when the immune system attacks the body’s own cells rather than foreign invaders. The skin disorder appears as raised red patches with thick, silvery scales. About 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. The disorder, which can range from a mild skin rash to a debilitating condition, can flare up for a few weeks or months, but also subsides for periods of time.

Although psoriasis has been thought of as a skin condition, recent research has suggested that the inflammation associated with psoriasis may be present in other parts of the body, and may impact heart health. Experts think experiencing high levels of stress, taking certain medications, drinking alcohol or smoking can trigger a flare-up. The symptoms of psoriasis are treatable, but there is no cure for the condition.

Michael J. Fox: Parkinson’s Disease

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TV and film star Michael J. Fox, known for starring in iconic movies such as “Back to the Future,” was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991, when he was 30 years old. Fox waited seven years before going public with his diagnosis. Although he admits to having bad days, he no longer looks at living with Parkinson’s as a battle or a fight, he told Parade magazine in 2012. Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to walk and move. It arises when the neurons in the brain that produce a chemical called dopamine, which helps to control body movements, begin to break down and die. Symptoms include shaking, problems with balance, difficulty swallowing, difficulty making facial expressions (a mask-like face), and muscle aches and pains. The condition is more common in people over 50. About 50,000 to 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s are diagnosed each year in the U.S., according to the National Parkinson Foundation.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Celiac Disease

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, photographed in 2010 in New York City. (Image credit: Elisabeth Hasselbeck photo via )

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, a former co-host of ABC’s “The View,” has had a decade-long struggle with celiac disease. Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine, preventing the body from absorbing food properly. The damage is due to a body’s overreaction to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. More than 2 million people in the United States have the disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. The talk show host tolerated the painful digestive condition for years, the New York Daily News reported in 2009. “No matter what I ate, I would soon be doubled over with cramps, awful indigestion, diarrhea — or all of the above simultaneously,” Hasselbeck wrote in her book “The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide” (Center Street, 2009). Hasselbeck realized she had celiac disease after her symptoms disappeared when she was enduring a severely restricted diet while filming “Survivor: The Australian Outback” in 2001. She now follows a gluten-free diet, currently the only treatment for people with the disease.

Montel Williams: Multiple Sclerosis

Montel Williams, photographed in 2004 in Los Angeles. (Image credit: Montel Williams photo via )

p> In 1999, daytime talk show host Montel Williams went public with his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), a debilitating disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. “My primary symptom is pain,” Williams told Oprah Winfrey on her talk show in 2009. “I’ve got pain from my shins to my feet, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and it’s been there for the last 10 years.” About 400,000 Americans have multiple sclerosis, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. As with other autoimmune disorders, multiple sclerosis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the person’s healthy tissue. It is not known exactly what triggers the condition. Williams lives with the disease by paying close attention to three things: his diet, exercise and medication, he said on “Oprah.”

While there are no known ways to prevent MS, a 2016 meta-analysis found a link between coffee intake and a reduced risk of MS. The study showed an association, rather than proving cause and effect, but it’s possible that caffeine may have a protective effect on the brain and spinal cord, according to the researchers.

Bret Michaels: Heart Disease

Bret Michaels, photographed in Las Vegas in 2010. (Image credit: Bret Michaels photo via )

In 2010, Bret Michaels, a reality TV star and former lead singer of the band Poison, suffered a “mini stroke” caused by a hole in his heart, according to CNN. A mini stroke, known medically as a transient ischemic attack, is caused by a blood clot, according to the American Stroke Association. To repair the hole in Michaels’ heart, doctors inserted a catheter into a vein in Michaels’ groin, and guided a device up into his heart, where it will stay permanently to stop abnormal blood flow between the two chambers of the heart, CNN reported. Without treatment, Michaels could have been at risk for developing blood clots and having another stroke. Each year, about 795,000 Americans suffer from a stroke, according to the American Stroke Association. The difference between a stroke and a mini stroke is that a mini stroke’s blockage of blood flow to the brain is temporary, and there is no permanent damage to the brain.

Jillian Michaels: Polycystic ovary syndrome

Jillian Michaels, photographed in Los Angeles in 2009. (Image credit: Jullian Michaels photo via )

In addition to having endometriosis, fitness guru Jillian Michaels suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Polycystic ovary syndrome, which occurs when a woman’s female sex hormones are out of balance, can cause changes to the menstrual cycle and the skin, along with small cysts in the ovaries and trouble getting pregnant. Michaels, a former trainer on the TV show “The Biggest Loser,” announced that she had PCOS and endometriosis after being criticized for stating in an interview that she would rather adopt than put her body through the physical challenges of pregnancy. Because of her conditions, she most likely couldn’t get pregnant, The New York Times reported in 2011. Michaels manages her symptoms by eating organic foods and exercising regularly, Prevention reported.

Follow Sara G. Miller on Twitter @SaraGMiller. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Originally published on Live Science.

Celebrities with Lupus: Raising Voices and Awareness

If you ask two different people what they know about lupus, odds are you could get completely different responses. Why? Because lupus is notoriously hard to identify, and its complexity is often misunderstood. Just check out how many different types there are, and you’ll start to get an idea.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic, systemic autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks healthy tissues and cells, causing inflammation in the joints, skin, kidney and other organs. The most common symptoms include skin conditions (typically a butterfly-shaped rash across your cheeks and nose), extreme fatigue, headaches, arthritis in the joints, and lung issues. This variety of manifestations means that although lupus affects as many as 1 in 1,000 people, you wouldn’t always know who.

To further complicate the diagnosis, one person’s experience of the disease could be entirely different than another’s. The common thread? A long, and often difficult journey to finding out what’s really going on.

If you’re living with lupus yourself, you might have found it hard to connect with others going through the same thing – much less talk about your disease publically. You may be surprised to learn that there are plenty of familiar faces out there – like Seal, Selena Gomez, Toni Braxton, and Nick Cannon – who are living and coping with lupus. And they are working hard to make sure more people are aware of this disease and how serious it is.

Multi-media entertainer Nick Cannon was hospitalized twice in early 2012 before he realized how big of a deal lupus was going to be. After receiving remarkable support from friends and family, he decided to pay it forward by creating a web series called The NCredible Health Hustle, which takes you along on his journey with lupus: from diagnosis to medical visits to going back to work. Nick also became involved with disease related organizations such as the Lupus Foundation of America, and believes in sharing his story for others to relate to: “I feel like this happened to me so I can be an inspiration, and I can talk about it.”

Actress and singer-songwriter Selena Gomez takes lupus advocacy to the next level. She shared her diagnosis publicly in 2015, and at first admitted how it was uncomfortable to talk about. But in the past couple of years she’s grown into a vocal advocate to raise awareness and support. For example, in 2016 she shared intimate details about the kidney transplant she had as a result of her lupus, and also revealed that anxiety, panic attacks, and depression – potential side effects of lupus – pushed her to take time off from her music career. This transparency alone has inspired many more to speak out about their experiences and seek help. Not to mention she’s also helped raise $500,000 for the Lupus Research Alliance and made a personal donation towards lupus research.

If you have lupus and want to start using your voice or platform to talk more about it, you might take some inspiration from these advocates. Also, check out how others are sharing their experiences and spreading positivity through engaging and relatable blogs like LupusChick, The Life of a 30-Something with Lupus, Sometimes, it is Lupus, or Kaleidoscope Fighting Lupus (an award-winning nonprofit blog).

As more people – celebrities and otherwise – raise their voices to talk about lupus, the more it stops being a taboo and becomes a topic of real-life conversation. However you choose to get involved, just remember that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re ready, just start talking.

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