The invisible battles of sickle cell and lupus

Lupus and sickle cell are two diseases that turn the body against itself.

Our immune system usually works to fight off invaders like bacteria and germs. But with lupus, the immune system attacks healthy tissue instead, causing joint pain and other symptoms. Five million people struggle with lupus, and it can be deadly.

Normal blood cells are round and flexible. But people with sickle cell have some crescent-shaped cells that can get stuck in blood vessels and block the flow of oxygen. This can cause severe pain in the extremities, along with other complications.

Host Angela Davis spoke with guests about their experiences with these diseases.

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.


James Burroughs has a 7-year-old daughter, Teresa, with sickle cell. He’s being honored with the Sickle Cell Health Equity Champion Award from the Sickle Cell Foundation of Minnesota on Friday.

Dr. Alex Boucher is a pediatric and adult hematologist at the University of Minnesota. He’s primarily focused on adult care and adolescent transitions into adult care.

Dr. Ashima Makol is a rheumatologist at Mayo Clinic. She specializes in connective tissue diseases.

Regan Birr is the founder and executive director of the Lupus Research Foundation, which raises funding for lupus research. She was diagnosed with lupus 10 years ago.

Use the audio player above to listen to the show.

Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.