Loose Women: Kelle Bryan says lupus caused a swelling on her brain

Loose Women‘s Kelle Bryan was left emotional as she discussed her ‘challenging battle’ with lupus during Monday’s show.

The singer and actress, 46, was diagnosed in 1999, and told the panel that her experience with the illness has been a ‘a really difficult journey’, while noting that there wasn’t much ‘tolerance or understanding’ of lupus.

Kelle, who shot to fame as part of girl group Eternal, emotionally detailed how she had to learn to walk and speak again after cerebral lupus left her with swelling on the brain, causing a seizure.

Emotional: Loose Women's Kelle Bryan was left emotional as she discussed her 'challenging battle' with lupus during Monday's show

Emotional: Loose Women's Kelle Bryan was left emotional as she discussed her 'challenging battle' with lupus during Monday's show

Emotional: Loose Women’s Kelle Bryan was left emotional as she discussed her ‘challenging battle’ with lupus during Monday’s show

Lupus is one of the chronic autoimmune conditions, where the body makes antibodies against itself and starts to attack it. 

After watching a video of herself going through rehabilitation in 2016 after the chronic autoimmune condition led to an infection in her brain, an emotional Kelle welled up as she told how she doesn’t watch the footage back because it’s ‘really painful’. 

Discussing her life with lupus, she explained: ‘It has been a really difficult journey. It’s not just me going through it. There are so many people out there struggling with lupus.

‘For me it’s about raising awareness of the disease and helping others to understand it more. There’s not very much tolerance or understanding for the disease.’

Tough battle: Kelle, who shot to fame as part of girl group Eternal, emotionally detailed how she had to learn to walk and speak again after cerebral lupus left her with swelling on the brain, causing a seizure

Tough battle: Kelle, who shot to fame as part of girl group Eternal, emotionally detailed how she had to learn to walk and speak again after cerebral lupus left her with swelling on the brain, causing a seizure

Tough battle: Kelle, who shot to fame as part of girl group Eternal, emotionally detailed how she had to learn to walk and speak again after cerebral lupus left her with swelling on the brain, causing a seizure

Kelle went on to describe how she was eventually diagnosed with the condition after initially suffering with mouth ulcers, hair loss and her hand turning to a claw shape, with the sensation spreading to the rest of her body.

She said: ‘One morning I woke up and I couldn’t bend my right index finger. I thought I’d slept awkwardly, so didn’t worry too much about it. 

‘My right hand then became a claw shape and it wouldn’t sort of open. That went down the rest of my body. I got ulcers in my mouth, I started to lose my hair. 

‘I wasn’t able to eat because I had mouth ulcers. Eventually, after a very long period of time I was diagnosed.’

So hard: The singer and actress, 46, was diagnosed in 1999, and told the panel that her experience with the illness has been a 'a really difficult journey', while noting that there wasn't much 'tolerance or understanding' of lupus

So hard: The singer and actress, 46, was diagnosed in 1999, and told the panel that her experience with the illness has been a 'a really difficult journey', while noting that there wasn't much 'tolerance or understanding' of lupus

So hard: The singer and actress, 46, was diagnosed in 1999, and told the panel that her experience with the illness has been a ‘a really difficult journey’, while noting that there wasn’t much ‘tolerance or understanding’ of lupus

The Hollyoaks actress, who was raising awareness on World Lupus Day, then went on to recall as particularly bad moment amid her 20-year battle with the disease as she ended up hospitalised after her brain became infected and she suffered a seizure.

Discussing her recovery and how the illness affected her body, she explained: ‘I’ve had to learn to speak, to walk again. 

‘I had cerebral lupus which meant a swelling of my brain. I had a seizure, I lost about three days of my life that I don’t remember at all. My family say I was awake and I was very much functioning, but I don’t remember it at all.’

Difficult: After watching a video of herself going through rehabilitation in 2016 after the chronic autoimmune condition led to an infection in her brain, an emotional Kelle welled up as she told how she doesn't watch the footage back because it's 'really painful'

Difficult: After watching a video of herself going through rehabilitation in 2016 after the chronic autoimmune condition led to an infection in her brain, an emotional Kelle welled up as she told how she doesn't watch the footage back because it's 'really painful'

Difficult: After watching a video of herself going through rehabilitation in 2016 after the chronic autoimmune condition led to an infection in her brain, an emotional Kelle welled up as she told how she doesn’t watch the footage back because it’s ‘really painful’

She continued: ‘Going through that rehabilitation stage of my life, learning to speak and the struggle of trying to communicate something and not being able to, wanting to have normal conversations with somebody and not being able to get the words out… The words from your head to your mouth… the frustrations of not being able to be around my children, because they were a risk to me.’

Kelle then went on to recall how she ended up in intensive care after her little girl passed on a cold which she caught at school, leading to devastating consequences for the star.

She said: ‘I’m hypersensitive to infection and Kayori came home one day with a cold and gave it to me, and 48 hours later I was in intensive care and I had pneumonia. 

‘It’s those sides of the disease that people don’t know about and there’s no awareness about it.’

Struggles: Discussing her life with lupus, she explained: 'It has been a really difficult journey. It’s not just me going through it. There are so many people out there struggling with lupus'

Struggles: Discussing her life with lupus, she explained: 'It has been a really difficult journey. It’s not just me going through it. There are so many people out there struggling with lupus'

Struggles: Discussing her life with lupus, she explained: ‘It has been a really difficult journey. It’s not just me going through it. There are so many people out there struggling with lupus’

Sending a message to those who’ve experienced symptoms, she went on: ‘I guess I want to say, if you do get a rash or feel like you’ve been overtired, got sore joints, nothing seems to make sense to you – it’s not necessary that it is lupus.

‘But go double check, ask your GP to test you or visit Lupus Trust online where there’s more info there. There’s lots of support there for you.’

She added: ‘Full credit goes to the NHS. I have an amazing consultant. They’ve really looked after my care over the last 20 years of my life. I’ve become stable now. 

‘Now I have 8-monthly infusions. That keeps me well and healthy, keeps the blood cells under control, so they’re not fighting me to a point where I can’t function. That enables me to live a really good quality of life and enables me to do all the things you guys see me doing.’

Thankful: 'Full credit goes to the NHS. I have an amazing consultant. They’ve really looked after my care over the last 20 years of my life. I’ve become stable now'

Thankful: 'Full credit goes to the NHS. I have an amazing consultant. They’ve really looked after my care over the last 20 years of my life. I’ve become stable now'

Thankful: ‘Full credit goes to the NHS. I have an amazing consultant. They’ve really looked after my care over the last 20 years of my life. I’ve become stable now’

WHAT IS LUPUS?

What is lupus?

It is one of the chronic autoimmune conditions, where the body makes antibodies against itself and starts to attack it. Lupus – Systemic Lupus Erythematotsus (SLE) – has a range of severity. Some sufferers will have only mild problems, others have life-threatening organ damage to the heart and the kidneys.

What are the symptoms?

Tiredness, joint pains and muscle aches. A common first symptom is joint stiffness, particularly in the mornings. Skin and hair problems are a major feature of SLE – a rash in the shape of a butterfly over the cheeks and nose is common, as is hair loss and sensitivity to the sun. Other problems include depression and lung and heart disease, as well as kidney inflammation.

What can it be mistaken for?

It is often mistaken for other joint problems such as rheumatoid arthritis which is also characterised by morning joint stiffness. It can also be misdiagnosed as a skin or blood disease.

How is it diagnosed?

If your GP suspects SLE they will request a blood test. The specific antibodies that attack the body can be measured in the blood. The diagnosis is made when there is the combination of typical symptoms and high antibodies.

Who is at risk?

SLE is ten times more common in women than men and usually develops between the ages 12 and 25.

What is the treatment?

Controlling the symptoms, as there is no cure, using anti-inflammatories and steroid tablets in more severe cases. 

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