Kim Kardashian West tested positive for lupus antibodies, but what does that actually mean?
The latest issue on Keeping Up with the Kardashians doesn’t have to do with cheating boyfriends or best friends burning bridges. For Kim Kardashian West, it’s about her health. In a tearful segment from the long-running show’s latest season premiere, Kardashian explained that she tested positive for lupus antibodies and described symptoms like nausea and swollen limbs.
However, testing positive for antibodies isn’t the same as being diagnosed.
At first, Kardashian thought her symptoms were the result of rheumatoid arthritis, but she decided to get a professional opinion before jumping to conclusions.
“I’ve been feeling so tired, so nauseous and my hands are really getting swollen,” Kardashian said. “I feel like I literally am falling apart. My hands are numb. It’s so scary. So, I have to go to the doctor and see what’s going on because I can’t live like this.”
Later in the episode, Kardashian received news that her bloodwork returned with antibodies associated with both lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Though she appeared understandably upset, her doctor added that having antibodies doesn’t mean that she’ll have either of the autoimmune diseases. Dr. Brad Rovin, a nephrologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, clarified the situation to Refinery29.
“Having a positive test for antibodies—or proteins that help your body fight infection—associated with lupus doesn’t mean you actually have the disease,” he said. “Just having an antibody test can bring back a false positive, a lot of people develop antibodies at low levels, and don’t necessarily have the disease.”
Neither lupus nor rheumatoid arthritis is a death sentence. Both are manageable, Rovin said. Lupus is managed with specific steroids called corticosteroids, according to the Mayo Clinic. Rovin adds that progress is being made every day on both diseases.
“It’s gratifying to see how much progress has been made, especially when it comes to rheumatoid arthritis,” Rovin noted. “But let me put it this way: Most people don’t want either diagnosis.”
Kardashian didn’t reveal what happened during her follow-up visit, but viewers can be sure that she’ll reveal more when the show continues its 17th season. Kardashian has been open with her health in the past, even asking for advice on Twitter in regards to managing her ongoing struggles with psoriasis.
This article originally appeared on Instyle.com
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