We have so much love for pop superstar Lady Gaga, in large part due to her candidness about the struggles she's faced since stepping into the limelight. And now, the Grammy winner is giving us yet another reason to applaud her for her openness and honesty: In the cover story for the spring 2017 issue of Arthritis magazine, the singer revealed for the first time ever that she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, or RA.
Gaga has never spoken out publicly about her RA prior to this cover story, but she has mentioned her struggles with chronic pain in past interviews and on social media. For example, she alluded to her debilitating joint and hip pain during a 2013 interview with Women's Wear Daily, in which she announced she had to take time off from her ARTPOP tour because of a hip injury.
"I had a tear on the inside of my joint and a huge breakage," the singer told WWD. "The surgeon told me that if I had done another show, I might have needed a full hip replacement. I would have been out at least a year, maybe longer."
Gaga tells Arthritis that at the time of her 2013 injury, she hid her pain until she was unable to walk, instead just praying that her hip would heal. Now, four years later, Gaga says she uses her passion for music to help cope with the pain from her RA and the anxiety that comes with it, and knowing this only makes us even more impressed with the singer's now-legendary Super Bowl dance moves.
"I'm really happy and had such an amazing time performing at [the] Super Bowl," she told Arthritis. "I knew I gave it everything I had in me."
One of the most debilitating forms of arthritis, RA is a chronic inflammatory disorder in which a person's immune system mistakenly "attacks" the tissues inside their joints and causes painful swelling, bone erosion, and joint deformity, Mayo Clinic reports. Women are more likely to develop RA than men, but symptoms typically don't arise until a woman is 40-60 years old.
Gaga is only 31, but by speaking out about her RA now, she's raising awareness about the disorder and inspiring others to listen to their bodies, recognize the symptoms of RA, and seek out treatment regardless of their age. And her efforts are already working: A few magazine subscribers have posted photos of Gaga's Arthritis cover story on Twitter and praised the star for opening up about a condition with which so many other people also struggle.
But that's just Gaga for you: always speaking out about important issues, and always inspiring us.