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Nick Cannon has rare form of lupus

Mariah Carey’s husband Nick Cannon went on ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday to discuss his recent diagnosis with a rare form of lupus. “It’s a rare form of lupus that’s attacking my kidneys,” he told Good Morning America host Robin Roberts. “The technical term is lupus nephritis.”

Cannon, 31, complained that he can’t have any fast food anymore. “No more Happy Meals, nothing, I’m sad.” But he added that he feels better on his healthier diet with little sodium and plenty of water. He cut back on his work schedule, giving up his morning radio show in order to sleep in. “I’ve been ordered to sleep six hours a night. Before then, I would sleep two or three hours and just keep going.”

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He first became aware of his condition when he was hospitalized in January while on vacation in Aspen with his wife and their 10-month-old twins. He was diagnosed with kidney failure and later developed blood clots in his lungs, another complication of the disease. “A lot of people have passed away from that. The doctor said it was lucky I was in such great shape.”

About 1.5 million Americans have lupus, an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the body’s health tissues, and a third of them develop kidney problems, according to the Lupus Foundation. Those with lupus nephritis face complete loss of kidney function if their condition remains uncontrolled, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Drug treatments include diuretics to eliminate excess fluid and anti-hypertensives to control blood pressure. Cannon may also be on an anticoagulation drug like warfarin to prevent future blood clots. Other more potent medications may also be necessary to dampen down the overactive immune system including corticosteroids to control inflammation and immunosuppressive drugs like Cytoxan.

Cannon complained about the drug regimen he was on, and corticosteroids can cause a host of side effects including fluid retention, moodiness, puffy face, and cataracts. Cytoxan -- a chemotherapy drug used to treat certain cancers -- can cause nausea, hair loss, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores, and abdominal pain.

Deborah Kotz can be reached at dkotz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.
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