Last week, Selena Gomez posted an image on Instagram from the kidney transplant she underwent as a result of Lupus.
But to the outside world, Gomez doesn’t look ‘sick’. So what does the disease actually look like?
Jokiva Bellard also lives with Lupus. Only the disease affects her body differently to how it does Gomez.
An autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack itself, people who suffer from Lupus may experience damage to joints, kidneys – like Gomez, heart, lungs, blood vessels and the brain.
This can manifest in a number of ways – for Bellard, managing her Lupus means taking medication that affects her appearance.
Her skin is extremely sensitive to sunlight, resulting in discolouration and open wounds that can become infected. Tooth decay and weight gain are also side effects of some Lupus treatment options.
Diagnosed at 17, Bellard is often judged by her appearance, something she has no control over. It’s for this reason she chooses to share her condition on Instagram to reduce the stigma surrounding Lupus.
“Open your minds to positivity – why be so negative and put people down when you should embrace and help them,” she says.
LISTEN: Mamamia Out Loud explains the case for being ‘body neutral’…