Lupus, a chronic disease in which the body attacks itself -- inflaming and damaging tissues in the skin, joints, skin, heart -- primarily affects women. One of them appears to be Lady Gaga; the performer herself said so on "Larry King Live." Actually, what she said was that she had tested "borderline positive for lupus."
Here's the Gaga interview on "Larry King Live," courtesy YouTube.
The lupus reference may sound a bit vague ("borderline positive"?), but the Lupus Foundation of America readily agrees that a lupus diagnosis is not always cut and dried. In responding to the performer's statement, the organization says this:
"There are many challenges in confirming whether a person has lupus. Lupus symptoms can be unclear, can come and go, and can change over time. It may take months or even years for doctors to piece together evolving symptoms to accurately diagnose lupus. And the symptoms may be related to another condition entirely."
Read the full statement.
The American College of Rheumatology concurs. It states:
"Diagnosis of lupus is difficult. Suspected cases must be confirmed by a series of blood tests. The most significant test measures ANA, the antinuclear antibody which is present in virtually all lupus patients. Additional, more specific tests, such as the anti-double strand DNA (dsDNA) and anti-smith antibodies (Sm), confirm the diagnosis of lupus. Levels of certain complement proteins (a part of the immune system) in the blood are also measured to help diagnose and track the disease."
Read its lupus-diagnosis explainer here.
Here's more about lupus -- the cause is unknown -- from the Mayo Clinic.
And, if you're more interested in the performer than the condition, here's the Ministry of Gossip's take on the Gaga-King interview.
-- Tami Dennis
Photo: Lady Gaga performs in Paris in May.
Credit: Kristy Sparow / Getty Images