Selena Gomez's Kidney Transplant Due to Lupus Highlights Need for Donors - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Selena Gomez's Kidney Transplant Due to Lupus Highlights Need for Donors

Gomez revealed her lupus diagnosis in 2015 and took a break from her career last year to deal with anxiety, panic attacks and depression stemming from her battle with the disease

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Selena Gomez Undergoes Kidney Transplant

    A pop star with North Texas ties is bringing attention to a disease that's rarely in the spotlight. Selena Gomez revealed she's recovering from a kidney transplant that was necessary because of her battle with lupus, an autoimmune disease. (Published Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017)

    North Texas native Selena Gomez recently received a kidney transplant from television actress Francia Raisa due to her struggle with lupus, the actress-singer revealed Thursday.

    Gomez disclosed in an Instagram post confirmed by her publicist that she has been somewhat out of the spotlight this summer because she was recovering from the procedure. The 25-year-old calls the transplant "what I needed to do for my overall health."

    The post didn't reveal Gomez's current condition or say where or when the procedure took place. Gomez's publicist declined to release more information.

    Gomez wrote "there aren't words to describe" how she can thank Raisa, who she says gave "the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney."

    "I am incredibly blessed," she added.

     

    I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org/ -by grace through faith

    A post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on


    The Instagram post includes a picture of Gomez and Raisa holding hands while lying side-by-side in hospital beds and another photo of a scar on Gomez's abdomen. The 29-year-old Raisa is best known for her role on the ABC Family series "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." Raisa's publicist didn't immediately return a request for comment Thursday.

    Gomez revealed her lupus diagnosis in 2015 and took a break from her career last year to deal with anxiety, panic attacks and depression stemming from her battle with the disease.

    Selena Gomez Reveals Kidney Transplant on InstagramSelena Gomez Reveals Kidney Transplant on Instagram

    Singer Selena Gomez revealed her recovery from a kidney transplant in an Instagram post on Thursday. The singer received a kidney from her friend, television actress Francia Raisa, due to her struggle with lupus.
    (Published Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017)

    Lupus is an autoimmune disease, where the body mistakenly attacks its own tissues, sometimes including the kidneys. One healthy kidney is all the body needs, so a single kidney transplant can resolve the problem, said Dr. David Klassen, chief medical officer for the United Network for Organ Sharing, which runs the nation's transplant system.

    "Lupus tends to be a disease of younger women, and younger people tend to do better with transplants than older patients, so the expectation is she would do quite well," he said of Gomez.

    Lupus also tends not to come back after the operation — "the drugs that prevent kidney rejection are also very good for treating lupus, the underlying disease," Klassen said.

    The causes of lupus are unknown. Symptoms can include bloody or foamy urine, unexplained weight gain, high blood pressure or swelling in the legs, ankles or around the eyes.

    Only about 3 percent of kidney transplants are for lupus — most are due to diabetes or chronic damage from high blood pressure.

    There were about 19,000 kidney transplants in the U.S. last year.

    Selena Gomez Reveals Kidney Transplant on InstagramSelena Gomez Reveals Kidney Transplant on Instagram

    North Texas native Selena Gomez recently received a kidney transplant from television actress Francia Raisa due to her struggle with lupus, the actress-singer revealed Thursday. Robyn Dye with Texas Health Fort Worth's Kidney Transplant program discusses kidney disease, how lupus can cause it and about organ donation.

    (Published Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017)

    Gomez's story also sheds light on living kidney donors.

    According to the United Network For Organ Sharing, More than 116,000 people are listed for an organ transplant nationwide.  Nearly 6,000 transplants were made possible in 2016 by living donors.

    T.J. Ragster, of Fort Worth received a kidney from a relative this week and understands the gratitude Gomez feels.

    "It's seriously a life saver.  That's the only way I can put it," says Ragster.

    An unhealthy lifesytle caught up with him four years ago.

    "The doctor drew some blood.  He came back and he had tears in his eyes and he was like, 'I hate to tell you, but your kidneys aren't working,'" he says.

    For four years, Ragster was on dialysis, which doctors say should only be a bridge treatment to transplant.

    "A lot of times, we feel that this is it.  This is the therapy.  Dialysis has never been intended to be a destination therapy," says Dr. George Rofaiel, at the Medical City Fort Worth Transplant Institute.

    However, he says many people wait for months or years on the transplant list.

    "There's simply not enough kidneys to go around!" he says.

    Ragster says he asked friends and family to be tested as a possible donor and is blessed that someone stepped up to the plate for him.

    "If anybody is willing to go get checked to be a donor, please do," he urged the public.

    MORE: National Kidney Foundation - Be an Organ Donor