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Jackson Lupus Diagnosis Puts New View on Meds Story - Bullet#334

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Dr. Arnold Klein, the dermatologist treating Michael Jackson,  has confirmed that Jackson not only had vitiligo but he also had a difficult disorder called Lupus.

Klein appeared on ABC and later Larry King Live to discuss a number of issues. He flat-out slapped down the rumor that Jackson was bleaching his skin and even laid a bombshell about former Jackson “friend” Uri Geller’s connection to Martin Bashir. More on that one in the days to come.

The doctor’s revelations come after he became the target of tabloids (glorified tabloids and otherwise)  looking for reasons (real or not) to fuel speculation about Jackson’s death.

Among other things, Klein told King he diagnosed Jackson with Lupus after a friend of Jackson’s recommended him.

“I said ‘you have Lupus erythematosus’, ” Klein said. “Lupus yet. He had a butterfly rash and he also had severe crusting on the anterior portion of his scalp.”

Klein said after a biopsy performed on Jackson, Lupus was diagnosed. He also said many people made fun of Jackson’s severe acne as well.

On Larry King Live, Klein talked as much as he could about some of the problems Michael Jackson faced because of it.

He had severe acne which many people made fun of. And he used to remember trying to clean it off and he had gone to these doctors. It really hurt him very much,” Klein said.

He continued:
“So I said [to Michael]‘you have thick crusting of your scalp and you have some hair loss’. And he said ‘how do you know this?’ I said its because the natural course of Lupus. So I then did a biopsy. I diagnosed Lupus and then our relationship went from there.”

Despite irresponsible statements he’s made about Jackson and medication, Deepak Chopra  said earlier that Jackson had vitiligo and Lupus in previous interviews. Somehow that portion of his interview failed to go viral because it would answer so many questions being used to fuel speculation about Jackson.


__Michael Jackson did not bleach his skin... Duh__
Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder which destroys skin pigmentation. It causes the skin to turn porcelain white.  It is probably most readily recognized and most devastating in African-Americans because of the color difference.

Michael Jackson himself confirmed the vitiligo diagnosis over a decade ago after suffering with the illness for years prior.

Klein told King that one of Jackson’s relatives did in fact have vitiligo and that the disorder had effected Jackson’s entire body.
Watch video of Klein disucssing the issue below:


From  the King interview:
KLEIN: [Michael’s] was bad because he began to get a totally speckled look of his body.

KING: All over his body?

KLEIN: All over his body.  On his face,  significantly on his hands  - which is very difficult to treat –

KING: So let’s clear up something. He was not someone desirous of being white?

KLEIN:  No. Michael was black. He was very proud of his black heritage.  He changed the world for black people
.



And the guilt of those who talked about Michael Jackson like a dog because they claimed he “bleached” his skin should be setting in right… about… NOW.

That guilt should also include those know-nothing talking heads and Jackson’s so-called “friends” who were terribly irresponsible with their words after Jackson’s death.

For years Jackson lived with the totally unfair, undeserved and unfounded allegation based on something he could not do anything about. All of the hell he was given and all of the jokes that were made could have been an enormous burden on someone who was already uber self-conscious about his looks.

All those who talked about Jackson’s “choices” who referenced his skin color should issue public apologies to his family. Not that it matters now that Jackson is gone, but the record should be corrected.


__Lupus is no joke__
I’ll say it plainly: Lupus is no joke. Like vitiligo, Lupus is an autoimmune illness. It causes terrible pain (inflammation) and can effect internal organs, joints and the skin. The heart and the lungs are frequently affected by Lupus, according to the Lupus Foundation of America.

Watch Klein talk about Lupus in the video below:

{xtypo_rounded_left2}Factoid:  Cardiopulmonary complications can occur in people with Lupus.
(cardio = heart;  pulmonary = lungs){/xtypo_rounded_left2} It can be life-threatening or mild depending on the individual. If you have Lupus, something as simple as ultraviolent rays from sun exposure can cause a lupus flare up.  Loss of pigmentation from vitiligo makes  it easier to get skin cancer from UV rays. Jackson would often use an umbrella to shield himself from the sun. 

Other things like extreme stress or harmless meds from the sulfa family of medications can cause Lupus to get worse. Sulfa medications include everything from regular antibiotics like Bactrim, to the children’s medication Gantrisin which treats urinary tract infections.

I know someone close who has the illness and it can be devastating. At this person’s worst moments, its almost impossible to walk let alone function without prescription medication.

Lupus patients can easily be on 6 different medications depending on the actual illness, and other complications which overlap lupus such as Reynaud’s syndrome, seizures and acid reflux disorders.

Each medication itself could have side effects of its own and may require additional medications to treat those side effects.

{xtypo_rounded_right2}Factoid: Reynaud’s cause discoloration of the skin, hands and/or fingers, and decreased blood circulation. Often patients will need to take medication which increases circulation.{/xtypo_rounded_right2} Most lupus patients do in fact have more than one doctor.

There could be more than one Rheumatologist, each of which will confer with each other about the correct path of treating the illness. 

Special doctors to treat illnesses associated with Lupus are also often needed such as a Neurologist to handle neurological complications such as seizures. Seizures may occur from complications of medications or develop through the process of finding the correct medications to treat Lupus.

An ENT (Ear Nose Throat) doctor to handle minor issues;

A Pulmonologist to treat any complications with the lungs and respiratory tract. They also deal with fluid in the lungs and treat pneumonia;

A Cardiologist to deal with any heart issues like fluid around the heart, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, chest pains, etc.

And these are just the doctors to handle the Lupus and any complications directly related to it. There could also be other doctors like a Dermatologist to deal with other cosmetic issues resulting from the way the disorder can ravage the body.

At one point, the aforementioned close person to me had to have fluid around the heart removed which was a complication from the illness.  Other Lupus patients have had “problems with their heart rhythm”  and “uncontrolled high blood pressure,” according to the Lupus Foundation of America.

If that weren’t enough, some lupus patients complain about being “hard to stick” or having “rolling veins”. This means it sometimes takes a few tries to find a vein and to be stuck by a needle when giving blood samples for tests, or having an I.V. inserted.

If Michael Jackson had Lupus, its no surprise at all that he would be on multiple medications -- or that there could be severe complications from either the autoimmune disorder or the interactions of whatever medication he may have been on to treat either illness.

Since Michael Jackson didn’t certainly didn’t qualify for Medicaid, he was most likely paying full price for any of the medications he was prescribed.

Certain medications are taken in combination with each other.  For example, brand name Plaquenil can be as high as $230 a month. Add to that brand name Imuran which can run as high as $300 a month from some vendors.  That’s over $6,300 a year for just those two medications.  This doesn’t even get into any additional medications which may be needed for complications associated with Lupus.

It’s a disorder I wouldn’t wish on anybody after seeing the way it can wreck a people’s life.

Half of the problem with maintaining Lupus is getting the correct combination of medications along with the correct dosage to keep flare-ups from happening.  Flare-ups are extremely painful and can present with high fevers or loss of ability to readily move the limbs and other flu-like symptoms.

For some patients, the combination of Lupus and medications can actually cause allergies to form. Some patients have complained of developing allergies to over the counter medications like ibuprofen and Benadryl; allergies they never had before.

Unsubstantiated reports about medications found in Jackson's house are floating around, and talk connecting Klein to the medication diprivan has started.

The only problem with this chatter is, as CNN's reporting shows, diprivan is not a regular prescription medication. It cannot be prescribed by any ole doctor.  You can't walk into a regular pharmacy with a prescription and actually get it. It's not like prescription strength Tylenol or pain medication.

Klein says the most powerful medication he ever gave Jackson was Demerol for a procedure he was performing on him at the time. He denied he ever giving Jackson diprivan.

The confirmation of Jackson’s vitiligo and Lupus diagnoses were just two of the subjects Klein talked about.

However, this should finally add a double layer of guilt to members of the  media and to those who have publicly defamed Michael Jackson as wanting to be white or purposely doing something to change the color of his skin.

Stay tuned.

Source Material:
Larry King Live interview with Dr. Arnold Klein, July 8 2009.

http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/new_learnunderstanding.aspx?articleid=2232&zoneid=523

http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/new_aboutaffects.aspx?articleid=291

Lupus –Fluid around the heart http://www.lupus.org/webmodules/webarticlesnet/templates/new_communitywebchats.aspx?articleid=630&zoneid=93

http://renux.dmed.ed.ac.uk/edren/EdRenINFObits/LupusNonRen.html

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