Understanding the early symptoms of lupus can help you identify or manage a potentially serious, chronic autoimmune, inflammatory disease which occurs if your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs.
What is Lupus?
The disease disproportionally affects women (How Lupus Affects Women), with 90% of Lupus sufferers being female. The disease produces antibodies to healthy cells within the body, thus the disease can affect virtually any kind of tissue or organ. Its effects can be somewhat mild or be manifested as a very serious, life-threatening disease. Typically, symptoms of Lupus affect the following common parts of the body, however, any part of the body can suffer from effects of the disease, even the brain.
Is Lupus Contagious?
You cannot catch Lupus from another person. It is an autoimmune disease that is acquired, in part, by genetic or other organic or environmental factors.
Symptoms of Lupus that Affect The Skin
Many of the signs of lupus are frequently and similarly displayed by other conditions. Great care has to be taken in reaching a successful diagnosis. Most identify characteristic lupus rashes on their skin, such as a lupus rash on legs or arms. Skin which shows signs of lupus could also be showing the signs and symptoms of eczema and psoriasis, with which it must not be confused, otherwise much time and effort is wasted and discomfort endured.
Discoid Lupus Erythematosus often referred to as (DLE) is a serious skin condition with symptoms of red scaly patches that typically affect exposed areas of skin such as the face, hands, and neck. As a result, sunlight can trigger Lupus in patients. Therefore, reducing exposure to bright sunlight is one of the most important preventative behaviors among patients with DLE.
How Lupus Affects the Kidneys
Swelling in glands and fever, some of the signs of lupus, are also very common among those with all sorts of physical problems, including flu. It is very easy for a doctor inexperienced with lupus to prescribe a wrong treatment instead of understanding Lupus’ effects on the renal system.
Your renal system, comprised of your two kidneys, bladder and urethra are responsible for maintaining a balance of bodily fluids and removing toxic waste products and substances and also helps to regulate hormones that contribute to regulating your body’s proper blood pressure. Approximately 40% of Lupus sufferers will experience Lupus nephritis (Lupus’ disease of the renal system). When Lupus affects the kidneys or renal system, excess waste can build up in the blood and excess fluids can create weight gain, swelling (edema) through the legs and arms, ankles, and hands. Puffiness is one of the first indicators that a Lupus is affecting the patient’s renal system. At later stages, a patient could experience blood in their urine or other complications from toxins not being effectively filtered out of your body.
Symptoms of Lupus in Your Heart
Pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium due to fluid retention) or hypertension are common heart diseases that affect most Lupus patients during the earliest phases of the onset of the disease and may continue to worsen over time due to the long-term inflammation that typically occurs with Lupus patients. These conditions can cause chest pains and can increase a patient’s risk of heart disease or stroke. In addition, medical treatments such as steroid treatments may also increase the risk of heart disease.
Common Symptoms of Lupus
- Painful or swollen joints
- Muscular pain
- Red facial rashes, but sometimes elsewhere
- Chest pain during inhalation
- Hair loss
- Pale or discolored fingers when exposed to cold
- Pale or discolored toes when exposed to cold
- Unusual sensitivity to the sun
- Swelling in glands, legs or near eyes
- Mouth ulcers
- Lethargy (unusually tired)
There are other possible symptoms of lupus. Many of the symptoms may come and go. They are not always present so that doctors can conveniently diagnose them.
Once the signs of lupus have been seen and lupus definitely diagnosed, then the question of cure arises. Different signs of lupus may indicate different treatments: dermatology for skin showing signs of lupus, hematology for blood showing signs of lupus, rheumatology for joints showing signs of lupus and so on.
For some, it is necessary to undergo a treatment which balances the hormones. The medical specialists who do this are endocrinologists.
It is often said that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. The next thing to be considered is how to prevent lupus.
A healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercises, a good diet and plenty of relaxation are rarely associated with the complaint. Although stress is part of everyone’s life, it is best to minimize it if lupus is to be avoided.
Stress is described as an emotional reaction caused by adverse life events. Stress can have many causes, such as the loss of a spouse, close relative or friend, a job or something else which is precious, that can never be totally planned for.
For some, stress can cause signs of lupus. Support groups (See Lupus Foundation of America ) for people finding themselves in stressful situations beyond their control can be very helpful in alleviating the signs of lupus.