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Doctor: Michael Jackson had Lupus

Category: Autoimmune Diseases

In an interview with Larry King last Wednesday, Dr Arnold Klein, Michael Jackson's dermatologist, confirmed that the pop mega-star had Lupus, an autoimmune disorder which can cause skin lesions, heart attacks, strokes, seizures and organ failure. Vitiligo, a disease that causes pale splotching of the skin, has been linked to autoimmune disorders as well. Jackson admitted to having vitiligo in the 90s.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, approximately 1.5 million Americans have the disease. Of those, 90 percent are women but when men do have the disease they tend to have a more active form. The disease most commonly develops between the ages of 15 and 44, and is less common among Caucasians than it is among minorities.

Lupus is usually diagnosed with a detailed medical history, a physical exam and blood tests. The antinuclear antibodies test is most commonly used to confirm a diagnosis. People with lupus and other autoimmune disease produce autoantibodies which target their own cells, and the antinuclear antibodies tests checks for the presence of these cells.

Lupus currently has no cure, but can be treated and is not necessarily fatal.

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