Toni Braxton Opens Up About Health Scare in The Braxtons Preview

Toni Braxton Opens Up About Health Scare in The Braxtons Preview

Toni Braxton is opening up about the impact lupus has on her everyday life. The “Unbreak My Heart” songstress has been living with lupus, an autoimmune disease, since 2008. She went public with her illness in 2010 during Season 1 of the We tv reality series, Braxton Family Values. The show is back on the air after a three-year hiatus via a reboot, The Braxtons, premiering in August 2024. In the most recent trailer for the season, Braxton is prepping for her Las Vegas residency alongside comedian, Cedric The Entertainer. She talks about the toll lupus takes on her life as a performer.

“I haven’t performed in over four years,” she tells a family member. In a confessional, she tells producers, “Just a few months ago I had a major scare with my heart.” She previously revealed that lupus attacks her heart. “Every day I just hope I don’t get sick,” she tells her family member in a separate scene. Since going public with her illness, Braxton has been an ambassador for Lupus L.A.

According to Mayo Clinic, Lupus is “a disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs (autoimmune disease). Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs.” Aside from a balanced diet, and a life free of stress, Braxton has been on different medications over the years, including steroids.

In an interview with CBS News in 2023, Braxton revealed she displayed symptoms of lupus for a decade before receiving a proper diagnosis. “I’ve had some serious health complications, including now it’s starting to affect my kidneys. … My skin, my hair, my heart, my vital organs are starting to become affected,” she said. “I love performing. I love touring, but I know I can’t do six to seven shows a week. My body’s not gonna let me do that. But I always try to find the silver lining. Maybe I can do two to three shows a week.”

She says regular checkups are necessary. “Don’t miss your doctor’s appointments. They’re so important,” she said. “Just because you have lupus doesn’t mean it has you… We can live with it. Go to the doctor, get checked out.”

Toni Braxton is opening up about her health after preventing a severe heart attack last year. The “Un-Break My Heart” singer, who has been vocal about living with lupus, appeared on “Today” on Tuesday and revealed that she experienced a health scare following the death of her sister Traci Braxton in 2022. “But I was having this pain in my chest and I thought it was because I was so sad, we had just lost one of my sisters,” she said. Braxton told “Today” co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager that she kept putting off an appointment with her doctor, confident that the chest pains were nothing serious. After the singer postponed her checkups, she said she finally made it to the doctor’s office where she learned that she “would have had a massive heart attack. I would not have survived.”

According to Braxton, she almost suffered a widowmaker heart attack, which is when the heart’s main artery gets nearly or fully blocked. Braxton said she received a coronary stent after the health scare. “Even sometimes when I talk about it, I get a little emotional about it,” she said, holding back tears, “because I feel so fortunate and so blessed. And I was not going to go to that appointment.”

The singer announced Tuesday that she is partnering with Aurinia Pharmaceuticals to encourage people living with lupus nephritis to get tested regularly for kidney damage. Lupus nephritis is a type of kidney diseased caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). According to the Mayo Clinic, SLE is a common type of lupus. “If I had not done that appointment, I would not be here today talking to you guys,” she told Kotb and Bush Hager. “So I want to educate people about that.”

Later in the conversation, Braxton said that her SLE is “starting to affect my kidneys,” which she says “can get really scary.” Braxton said she tries to “think of the glass half full.” She told the hosts about coping with her condition, finding support in family and friends, performing to the best of her ability and staying confident on social media. “I was feeling good about myself surviving lupus,” she said of a picture from a recent Instagram post. “I wanted people to know that just because you have lupus or lupus nephritis or your kidneys aren’t doing good, you can still be cute, you can take a cute picture and feel OK.”

Toni Braxton has overcome a “traumatic” and life-threatening health scare that occurred as a result of her living with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common form of lupus. The 55-year-old singer — who was diagnosed with SLE in 2008 — revealed to PEOPLE that back in September she underwent a procedure after 80% of the main artery in her heart was blocked.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakes healthy tissues as foreign invaders and attacks them rather than targeting the bad bacteria and viruses. It causes inflammation that can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. As someone who’s been hospitalized “more times than I care to admit” from the disease, Braxton knows the importance of staying on top of routine urine and blood tests to assess how the lupus is affecting her organs.

However, she admits she slipped up last year. “I kept putting it off thinking, ‘Oh, I’m fine. I’ll be okay.’ But my doctor was persistent and I went to get tested in the last week of September. I did a specialized test and they looked at my heart and saw some abnormalities,” Braxton tells PEOPLE. “I found out that I needed a coronary stent. My left main coronary artery was 80% blocked. The doctors told me I could’ve had a massive heart attack, I would not have survived.”

“It was a traumatic moment for me. I was in shock,” she recalls. “I remember that day because my chest was aching often, just hurting. And I thought I was just sad because unfortunately my sister [Traci Braxton] had just passed and I thought, ‘Wow, I’m really aching in my heart for my sister.’ And come to find out, of course I was sad about my sister, but I also had underlying health issues. It was my body talking to me, telling me something’s not quite right.”

Two days after her screenings, Braxton had the emergency surgery and a stent — a tube that helps keep the passageway open — was inserted in her heart. The “Un-break My Heart” singer was hospitalized for a few days as she recovered. Although she says reflecting on the experience makes her emotional, Braxton admits that she’s simply grateful the situation didn’t result in a fatal heart attack.

“It was really a scary moment,” the Grammy-winning artist says. “Had I not gotten that test, my life would’ve been different.” “I look at it like it was a blessing in disguise for me because now, putting off tests? Oh no, I will not put off tests,” Braxton assures with a laugh. “If all I have to do for my lupus and my kidney health is pee in a cup, I can pee in a cup. How many times do you need me to pee? If all I gotta do is get my arm pricked for some blood? Oh yes, I can do that. How many vials do you need?”

The eye-opening health scare is, in part, why Braxton has partnered with Aurinia’s Get Uncomfortable campaign ahead of May’s Lupus Awareness Month. The initiative works to encourage and empower people with lupus and lupus nephritis — a type of severe kidney disease caused by SLE — to “get uncomfortable” and prioritize their health by going to the doctor and completing routine testing to help prevent irreversible kidney damage, specifically women of color.

Braxton emphasizes that Black and Asian women are four times more likely to develop lupus nephritis and the risk of death is three times greater for people with it. “It’s important to get those screenings — simple things,” she says. “The goal here is long life and old age.”

“I know we’re all scared sometimes to go to the doctor. Especially for me having lupus, I was scared, I didn’t want to know. But I find that knowing is empowering and it gets my doctors on top of my lupus and my kidney health. And that’s the most important thing,” the music star adds, noting that she now gets tested every three months.

After 15 years battling a disease that leaves her constantly dealing with heart and kidney complications, Braxton is dedicated to paying it forward with her advocacy work — raising awareness about lupus after all that she had to learn early in her battle. “I remember when I first was diagnosed, I’d heard of lupus but I knew nothing about it. I didn’t know where to go, where to look, who to contact,” she explains. “Your doctors tell you about it, but it just sounds like Charlie Brown teacher talking, you know? Womp womp womp, like what are you saying? So I had to educate myself and it was a pretty scary moment for me.”

“I was also ashamed,” Braxton adds. “They made me feel ashamed. ‘Don’t tell anyone. You won’t be able to work. No one will hire you.’ And so now I’m an advocate for talking about it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of — kidney health, healthcare, lupus nephritis — it’s important to talk about it.”

Now six months after getting the stent placed in her heart, Braxton says she’s feeling good and taking her health journey day by day, praising her family whose support keeps her spirits up. “There are good days and bad days,” the mom of two admits. “I’m going to be honest, sometimes the bad days get me down. I’m not superwoman. I like to think I am. I like to feel like I’m that boss b— all the time, but I’m also a human. When my body tells me to take it down and relax, I have to listen to it.”

“But I always try to be optimistic,” Braxton tells PEOPLE. “The glass is always half full.”

As Lupus Awareness Month approaches, Toni Braxton, a celebrated 55-year-old singer has opened up in national media interviews about her battle with lupus, which has resulted in heart and kidney complications and negatively affected her physical and emotional health. Toni Braxton recently revealed in People that she underwent what she describes as a “traumatic” heart procedure after a life-threatening lupus complication. Braxton, who was diagnosed with lupus in 2008, shared that she’s been hospitalized “more times than I care to admit” from the chronic autoimmune disease that can attack any organ in the body and cause silent damage to vital organs. In Braxton’s case, lupus attacked her heart, leading to emergency surgery last September after doctors discovered 80% of the main artery in her heart was blocked.

Understand the effects that lupus has on your body. Lupus greatly increases the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), a blockage in the arteries that decreases blood flowing to the heart. If CAD goes undetected, as it nearly did for Braxton, it can cause a heart attack and death. Lupus can also target the kidneys, causing a condition called lupus nephritis. Lupus nephritis is inflammation of the kidneys that can eventually lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant. People with lupus nephritis often don’t have symptoms in the early stages of the disease. This is why it’s important for them to be tested regularly for any sign of kidney damage. Thinking of her own experience with her heart and kidneys, Braxton has partnered with Aurinia Pharmaceuticals to urge lupus warriors to get routine testing and see doctors regularly, with the hopes of catching lupus nephritis earlier. An earlier diagnosis is crucial to avoiding kidney failure.

Work closely with your medical team. For people with lupus it’s important to listen to your body and take care of yourself. This means understanding the effect lupus can have on your body, working closely with your healthcare team and keeping your support network close. Braxton specifically emphasized the importance of keeping regularly-scheduled appointments and having a treatment plan. To help with this, the Lupus Foundation of America offers SELF, a free online self-management program that helps you manage your relationship with your healthcare team, as well as your symptoms, stress and medications. We applaud Toni Braxton for using her platform to share her difficult lupus journey with others to raise awareness and encourage individuals to take care of their health. We are celebrating Lupus Awareness Month in May to make lupus visible so that more people join the fight against this disease.

If you have questions about lupus, the National Resource Center on Lupus has answers. Or contact our Health Education Specialists by phone or by email for free to get the help you need.

The new series premieres on We TV on August 9.

The Braxtons are back and bigger than ever! The famous family is making a return to television as they navigate a brand new set of challenges. We TV first announced in February that Toni, Towanda, Trina, Tamar and matriarch Dr. Evelyn Braxton would reunite for a new reality series, The Braxtons. More than three years after their docuseries Braxton Family Values came to end, the ladies will “share new love, success, heartbreak, ongoing family dynamics and so much more” on the new show, according to a press release from the network.

In PEOPLE’s exclusive sneak peek at the series, the Braxton women open up about their decision to return to camera. While they may have “a lot of things we need to talk about” and “a lot to share,” Tamar says that “being a Braxton is my legacy, it’s my birthright.” Though the family acknowledges that things are “never going to be the same” without their sister Traci, who died at age 50 in March 2022, their lives move on as they embark on new journeys.

Toni takes a stab at standup comedy to the chagrin of her mother and sisters who think she should “stick to singing.” Trina, on the other hand, is ready for her children to give her “grand babies,” and nearly throws a fit when her husband, Von Scales, tells her he encouraged them “to get vasectomies” if they didn’t want children.

While Evelyn seeks to get back into the dating pool and find a new man, Toni gears up to get back on stage for the first time in four years. “Just a few months ago, I had a major scare involving my heart,” she tells cameras before informing her loved ones she still fears that she’s going to “get sick.”

Emotions run high between the Braxton women. During a family sit down, Evelyn cries, “I just lost a child” while Trina admits through tears, “I wasn’t strong enough. I wasn’t strong enough to see it.”

Eventually Toni makes her return to the stage and while flashes of her performing play on screen, while family friend Hill Harper threatens to “stop the entire show” before the trailer features a shot of Toni seemingly doubled over in pain.

The Braxtons premieres August 9 on We TV.

Source: PEOPLE, CBS News, Mayo Clinic

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