The signs of lupus from one person with another may be different. Some are mild and some are severe. In order to diagnose this autoimmune disease, understanding some common symptoms can be helpful. The difference in the symptoms is caused by the different of body systems getting affected by the disease. You may find the signs early, but you may find it suddenly as well.
- Low-Grade Fever
Most people don’t really pay attention to low-grade fever and they tend to just leave it without seeking medical treatment. One of the lupus early symptoms is the existence of low-grade fever unreasonably and it can come and gone. It is better to see your doctor when you feel low-grade fever. It is not always a sign of lupus because there are other diseases with the same sign, but checking your condition with your doctor can be a good thing to do.
- Painful Joints
Lupus leads to inflammation in your body and it results in painful joints. This may be not only a symptom of lupus as some disease like arthritis is also indicated with the same symptom, but finding out what you are suffering by seeing your doctor may be necessary. The pain in the joints can be caused by swelling or stiffness and this feeling can come and gone. Normally it feels the most painful in the morning and the pain can occur in different places, moving quickly. Although the pain in the joints is caused by inflammation, lupus can make the damage permanent.
This is a mild symptom of lupus as people may not realize they are suffering from a certain disease when feeling fatigue. Feeling fatigue can be tiring and it leads you to take a nap. However you can actually fight the fatigue feeling by keep doing your activity as usual and be active. Surely this is uneasy as your body is asking to rest while you don’t give it what it wants. If you are sure you won’t take a nap too long, it is good to give it a go. The problem is most people who take a long nap tend to not able to sleep at night, which is even worse. Moreover, in some cases you can’t get rid of the fatigue feeling even if you have slept enough. This can be distracting because you are unable to do your daily activities normally. The levels of fatigue from one person with another may be varied, so if you are feeling an extreme fatigue you can’t hold into, then see your doctor. If the fatigue is still easy to handle allowing you to be active, you can actually get your energy back.
- Butterfly-Shaped Rash
This is the most common symptom of lupus, which can be easily recognized and indicated that the person with such rash is suffering from lupus. This kind of rash can suddenly happen in the area of the cheeks and the nose or it can only appear when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
- Itchy Lesions
Not only the butterfly-shaped rush occurs on the cheeks, but also itchy lesions on the other parts of your body might occur as a sign of lupus.
The skin lashes on the body can occur caused by the sunlight exposure since people with lupus has a photosensitivity. If the lesions have occurred even before any exposure, the sunlight can make them even worse. Not only sunlight, in some cases the sensitivity can also occur from artificial light exposure.
- Raynaud’s Phenomenon
This is a phenomenon where the fingers and toes are turning blue or white. This condition occurs when your skin is exposed to cold or when you are feeling stressful.
- Hair Loss
Also called as lupus hair, this hair loss is caused by the inflammation in the scalp. The hair loss can be translated as a hair thinning or as loss in a clump. It is also occurring not only on the hair of your scalp, but also other areas with hair such as beard, eyebrows, eyelashes and many others. The sign of lupus hair loss can be completed with raged look and brittleness. The hair can also break easily as it is losing its strength. Although this hair loss condition can be treated for re-growing the hair, in some cases the hair loss can be permanent due to the lesions appear on the skin where the hair grows.
The dryness condition occurs in the eyes, mouth and in some cases, vagina. The dryness in the eyes is usually caused by the glands’ multifunctioning making your tears and saliva not well produced.
Nephritis is a condition where the kidney is getting inflammation. Since kidney has a very important role in your body, kidney problems can be severe. When there is inflammation the kidney can no longer filter the waste and the toxin in the blood, which is its main function. The early symptom can be so mild that you might not realize you are suffering from nephritis. Some symptoms include the frequent urination at night and the existence of blood in the urine. Experiencing high blood pressure and swelling in the feet are also some indications. If there is no blood, then darker urine should be paid to attention because it can be the symptom. Nephritis must be well treated before getting worse, so those who are diagnosed with this disease should seek medical help.
- Pulmonary System Inflammation
Since lupus is about inflammation within your body, the pulmonary system is one of the organs that get the impact. This condition leads to swollen lungs and blood vessels around them, making you feel some breathing issues. In some cases the diaphragm is swollen too.
- Shortness of Breath
Due to the pulmonary issues, you may experience shortness of breath. This is because the swollen lungs make you hard to breath and it causes shrinking lung syndrome, a condition when the size of the lungs is shrinking.
- Chest Pain
Still closely related with the pulmonary system, not only you can experience shortness of breath due to the shrinking lungs, but chest pain also occurs. The inflammation of the lungs itself has actually caused chest pain as you breath, so the shrinking lungs even make this condition more ongoing.
- Mouth Sores
While mouth sores could be a sign of other illnesses, the one in lupus is distinguished from the others because it is commonly painless. Also, the sores can happen inside the mouth on the roof, not in the sides.
- Abnormal Urination
Lupus can cause inflammation to the kidney and it reduces its function. When the kidney is not functioned properly, it can’t filter the protein in the blood properly as well. As a result, there is protein found in the urine of lupus patients, which is abnormal urination. This might not be harmful, but the protein loss in your body can lead to swollen feet when it happens continuously. Also, the kidney inflammation can get worse and cause kidney failure, which needs to be medically treated.
People with lupus commonly suffer from headache because they are stressful by the disease. The medications can also make the headache worse and it is sometimes hard to set apart. The worse condition is the seizure happens when the brain is affected by the diseases because the oxygen is not well transferred to the nervous systems. Some other symptoms can include confusion, depression, and anxiety caused by the nervous system’s problems.
- Brain fog
This is a famous symptom of brain-related problems of the people with lupus. Many lupus patients suffer from cognitive issues that make them can’t think and concentrate properly as they were before. It can make the patients hallucinate so that they mix both imagination and reality as one. They can find difficulties in memorizing or doing something they used to easily o before.
- Blood Clotting
Lupus’ patients tend to experience blood clots because the production of APL or antiphospholipid antibodies, which are forms of abnormal protein. These antibodies lead to blood clotting and it can lead to some other diseases.
- Acid Reflux
Lupus also affects your gastrointestinal system by causing the esophagus to inflame. Such inflammation influences the acid in the stomach goes back to the esophagus leading to the burning sensation. Not only the inflamed esophagus causes reflux acid, but it can also lead to dysphagia or difficulty swallowing.
- Digestive Problems
Since lupus forces the patients to take drugs regularly, they sometimes cause digestive problems such as vomiting and nausea. To recognize whether or not those problems are caused by the drugs or not is by knowing when those firstly come. If they happen after you consume the drugs, then they may be the causes.
- Abdominal Pain
Peritoneum inflammation accompanied with ascites can lead to abdominal pain. Ascites is a condition when fluid is building up in the abdominal cavity while peritoneum is a part of the abdomen. This can be more than just pain, but it can come in a kind of vomiting and nausea. This condition also makes your abdomen tender. However since such symptoms and inflammation can be caused by other diseases, you can’t judge that you are having lupus just because you experience the same feelings. It all needs medical check to ensure.
- Liver Problems
The ascites mentioned above, a condition when fluid is building up in the abdominal cavity, can cause the liver to enlarge. Also, the blood vessels near the liver can clot during lupus due to liver inflammation from lupus. Moreover, there is also a possibility of jaundice that can be seen from your skin color when it is turning yellowish. Again, all of these conditions must be well checked to diagnose what causes them since lupus is not the only one.
- Stomach Ulcers
One of the treatments of lupus is NSAIDS. This treatment causes stomach ulcers with bleeding as one of the symptoms. There is also bacteria that live in the stomach, which is common in the people with lupus, called helicobacter pylori bacterium, that causes the ulcers. There are some solutions for this condition and you can consult it with your doctor.
- Blood Flow Issues
Blood circulation is one of the keys that make your body organs work properly. Lupus leads to inflammation in the blood vessels and it affects the proper blood flow. Another cause for the blood circulatory problem is atherosclerosis as it leads to narrowed blood vessels.
According to some researches that found childrearing women indicated as the mostly affected group by lupus, hormones like estrogen is considered to be one of the causes.
Those with a family member having a lupus history tend to be more prone infected by this disease compared to those who don’t. However this is not a strong factor because you might be free from lupus even if you have such genetic factor.
One of the causes of lupus flare coming up is the exposure of ultraviolet. It can be both the natural one from the sun or the fluorescent lights, all of them can be the causes.
Taking certain medications such as for seizure or blood pressure can trigger this disease to come. However, when the cause is medication, making lupus go away is easier. Just stop the medication and usually the disease will stop too.
Feeling stress both inside and outside can be also the factors. It can be the mental stress such as the feeling of under pressure or body stress after getting certain kinds of surgery.
All of the causes above are not suddenly trigger lupus because commonly this disease happens from a combination of factors gathered into one. So just because you are having one of these factors doesn’t mean you are the one. Moreover, lupus is actually a disease of which the cause is hard to find out even if some factors above can be some indications.
While lupus’ causes can be hard to diagnose, here are some preventions from making lupus getting worse.
- Avoiding Sunlight Exposure
As has been said above that sunlight is one of the causes of flare, avoiding sun exposure is very important for people with lupus. If you go outside don’t forget to wear your sunblock with at least SPF 15.
2. Doing Exercise
Feeling fatigue caused by a disease is not a reason to be lazy and leave an exercise. Train your muscles so that they don’t lead to osteoporosis is important. Don’t do heavy exercises, but choose the simpler ones like light walking to just move your body a bit.
3. Noting the Symptoms
If you feel some symptoms come, take notes and research what causes the symptoms. This will help you leave those causes to not repeat the same symptoms again. Surely this can make you feel more comfortable, but it will force you to be more careful in doing or eating something.
4. Consulting with a Doctor
Ask your doctor to prevent your lupus from becoming worse is the best. Since he understands your condition, he can give great advice for you to live normally with lupus.
Since lupus causes inflammation, taking this drug is necessary when you feel pain in the muscles or joint. Ask your doctor for some prescription because there are some types of NSAIDs such as naproxen and ibuprofen and they might not be appropriate for people with certain diseases such as kidney and stomach.
Like its name, this medicine is used for suppressing the immune system to help the symptoms reduced because it eliminates the immune system’s damage. Since lupus is mostly caused by the immune system wrongly attacking the body parts, this medicine is quite helpful. However this is quite a strong medicine that should be used only for severe cases. It can lead to many side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting.
This medicine is also used only for severe lupus due to its powerful effect. Depending on how severe your lupus is, the dosage given by your doctor might be low or high. This medicine is effective in treating inflammation, but it can also lead to bone thinning if used for a long period in a high dose.
This is a new lupus treatment used for severe cases to help those with lupus that can’t be treated with other treatments. It kills the B-Cells that cause the lupus symptoms through infusion. Again, this treatment must be suggested by your doctor because in some regions it might not yet licensed.
There are still many other treatments to do for dealing with lupus depending on the symptoms and severity. Treatments must be combined with a proper lifestyle to help improving the good condition. Medicines must be used with a prescription because some side effects can come. If you aren’t sure whether or not you have lupus, don’t judge it unless you have checked it to your doctor and you are diagnosed. Consult with your doctor about your condition to find out the best ways for caring, treating and preventing.