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Healthy Living

Toni Braxton’s Hospital Scare Is A Window Into Life With Chronic Disease

The singer and TV star suffers from lupus.
Toni Braxton was hospitalized in Atlanta this week with lupus complications. The singer publicly revealed her diagnosis in 2010.
Toni Braxton was hospitalized in Atlanta this week with lupus complications. The singer publicly revealed her diagnosis in 2010.

Toni Braxton has been released and is resting at home after being hospitalized in Atlanta because of lupus complications.

“She was not in serious condition, though lupus is a serious disease and must be monitored at all times,” Braxton’s rep told HuffPost Entertainment.

“Some days I can’t balance it all. I just have to lay in bed,” Braxton previously told HuffPost Live. “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.”

What is lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own organs and tissue, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Lupus is notoriously difficult to diagnose because its symptoms can also indicate a host of other conditions. They include joint pain, chronic fatigue, fever, shortness of breath and skin lesions that get worse in the sunlight. One hallmark sign of the disease is a butterfly-shaped facial rash that extends across both cheeks, but that’s not true of every case.

Internally, lupus can damage joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. Many people with lupus experience flareups of the disease ― episodes where the disease gets worse for a period of time and then improves or even disappears.

According to the Lupus Foundation, there are about 1.5 million people living with the disease in the United States. The disease is most common in women of Asian, Hispanic, Native America and African-American decent.

While there’s no cure for lupus, some of its symptoms can be staved off with anti-inflammatory drugs and lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, avoiding smoking and getting enough sleep.

Braxton isn’t the only celebrity who has been open about her lupus diagnosis. In addition to Nick Cannon and Seal, both of whom have the autoimmune disease, singer Selena Gomez confirmed she had lupus in October 2015.

Suffering The Silence: Portraits Of Chronic Illness