Doctors' Notes

Toni Braxton: A Lupus Thriver

Toni Braxton-son-no-autism

Welcome to Doctors’ Notes, our newest contribution from Urban Health correspondents and husband and wife physicians Dr. Rob and Dr. Karla Robinson.  The dynamic duo will be fielding questions about health, as it relates to African Americans.  Please feel free to send them questions via digitalpitches@ebony.comWe promise to keep it anonymous. 


Grammy award-winning R&B singer and songwriter Toni Braxton has been providing us with the theme music for our lives since 1992.   While adding successful reality TV star to her list of accomplishments and opening her life up to her fans, Braxton shocked us all when she revealed that she was battling lupus.

After suffering a complication of lupus that affected her heart, Braxton is now an avid supporter of the American Heart Association and helps to raise lupus and heart health awareness.  As not only a lupus survivor, but a lupus “thriver,” she has served as a model of inspiration for those living and thriving with chronic diseases in our community.

Lupus is a chronic and incurable autoimmune disease that can affect virtually every organ in the body.  As a result, it is often a very complicated and potentially deadly disease.  Most often affecting young women in the prime of their lives between the ages of 15-44, lupus is known to be much more common in the Black community with our rates of the disease being as much as three times higher than other groups.

While there is no known cause or cure, what we do know is that you too can thrive with lupus if caught early and managed appropriately.  Although everyone experiences lupus differently, here are some of the most common symptoms of lupus that you should know:

*Extreme fatigue (tiredness)


*Brown or foamy urine

*Painful or swollen joints


*Swelling in feet, legs, hands, and/or around eyes

*Pain in chest on deep breathing

*Butterfly-shaped rash across cheeks and nose

*Hair loss

*Abnormal bruising

*Fingers turning white and/or blue when cold

*Mouth or nose ulcers

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t delay and discuss them with your doctor right away.  For more information on lupus, please visit the Lupus Foundation of America at

It’s a health thing…we’ve got to understand!

About the Doctors:

Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob are the founders of Urban Housecall, a multimedia health and wellness resource, and they also host the Urban Housecall Radio Show.  For more from the doctors, visit their website at, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @urbanhousecall!