Now the reality star has revealed she has lupus, which is causing her to be “constantly navigating” her health issues.
The TV personality updated fans on her health on Instagram while trying to hold back tears.
The NHS describes lupus as a “complex and poorly understood” condition, with many still in the dark about what the disease is, its symptoms, and its treatment.
Despite this, about 50,000 people in the UK have the condition, according to Lupus UK.
Explaining how she found out, Ms Thompson said in the Instagram video: “So to update you guys quickly, I had a call yesterday with one of the rheumatology guys and they got more of my blood test results back and the diagnosis is that I’ve got drug-induced lupus.
“So I’m suffering from that, which is fabulous. It means that I’m really tired but I’ve also started to get really intolerable joint pain especially if I sit down for any amount of time if I cross my legs.”
Dr Steve Iley, medical director at Bupa, explains everything that you need to know about lupus.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is a complicated condition; there are different types and people often show different symptoms on different parts of the body. As such, it is often misunderstood by the public.
The most common type of lupus is systemic lupus erythematosus – or SLE – which is one of the more serious forms of the condition.
SLE can exhibit different symptoms, according to the NHS, and some people will experience them more severely than others. The three most common are fatigue, swollen or painful joints, and skin irritation or rashes, particularly around the hands, wrists, or face.
Other symptoms can include a fever, swollen glands, headaches or migraines, and stomach pains. These symptoms can also be caused by a number of issues, so it’s important that you speak to your doctor for a diagnosis.
Other types of lupus will just affect the skin.
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Discussing her unusual symptoms, Ms Thompson said: “I was just on the bus going to one appointment this morning and when I stood up and started walking to the appointment honestly my knees were in such agony.
“I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life. I’ve always been so able-bodied and so active, exercise has been such a big part of my life and it’s just so rough having to adapt to all of these new medical conditions, so that’s been really tough.
“On top of that and almost worse because I can deal with fatigue, I can deal with skin, I can deal with pain but the neurological symptoms have just still been so unbearable and currently I’m dealing with this never-ending cold.
“I have mucus coming out of my nose and really bad pain in my ears and I’m not supposed to take anti-inflammatory medication, so ibuprofen, because of having ulcerative colitis or all of that.”
How can you catch lupus?
SLE is an autoimmune condition, meaning it’s not contagious and can’t be passed from one person to another. Instead, it is caused when antibodies from the immune system mistakenly attack healthy cells or organs.
Experts still aren’t entirely certain why this happens, but it is widely agreed that there are multiple causes. Some of these are genetic – so, if your parents have lupus, it’s more likely that you’ll experience it, too – while other factors are within our control. Many experts believe smoking increases your chances of developing the condition, for instance.
Lupus can also be affected by changes in hormones, from pregnancy or puberty, for example, so it’s most prevalent in women of childbearing age.
How can it be treated?
Lupus can generally be diagnosed by blood tests from a doctor.
While there’s currently no cure for SLE, there are medications available to manage its impact, such as anti-inflammatories, or medicines that suppress your immune system. By using these, many people are able to successfully limit the impact it has on their day-to-day lives.