Lupus is a serious autoimmune disease, typically causing a host of symptoms that develop over a period of time. It is a chronic and ongoing disease, therefore early diagnosis and treatment are vitally important.
With an autoimmune disease such as lupus, your immune system mistakes healthy tissue and vital organs for “foreign” invaders.
Symptoms of Lupus
Because the disease may attack vital organs within your body, it is crucial to recognize the following red-flag warning signs.
Unusual Pain in the Joints, Chest, Back, or Elsewhere
Ongoing pain without apparent cause is a serious concern. Lupus often causes stiffness and pain in the joints, and this is due to inflammation. You may also develop chest pain or lower back pain. Lower back pain may be associated with renal failure in more advanced cases.
Unexplained Swelling of the Hands, Feet, Ankles or Surrounding Joints
If lupus affects the kidneys, the body may develop edema, or swelling from fluid retention. This may cause toxicity or sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition that poisons the blood. Look out for telltale signs of kidney issues, such as blood in the urine or infrequent urination.
If you’ve been experiencing unexplained fevers for no reason, your body may be under attack. During the early stages of lupus, patients report experiencing fevers that range from mild to moderate severity. As the disease progresses, fevers may persist and become dangerously high.
A Facial Rash
People suffering from lupus sometimes have a rash that typically appears over the bridge of the nose and cheekbones. The rash may cause itching and irritation.
Scaly, Dry Skin
This symptom may be mistaken for eczema or psoriasis, which may be difficult to differentiate. This is why it is important to get an accurate diagnosis from your doctor, even without the presence of other symptoms.
Miscellaneous symptoms of lupus include light sensitivity, frequent headaches, extreme tiredness, and mouth sores. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical advice as quickly as possible.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Lupus may affect people of any age, race, or gender. For some unexplained reason, the disease is more prevalent in women in their 20s and 30s. If your doctor suspects lupus, he or she may perform a series of blood tests and skin biopsies. You may be referred to an immunologist.
To control symptoms and treat the disease, your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory medications and hormone therapy injections. Every case is unique, therefore treatment options will vary.
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