Symptoms of Lupus
Lupus is a chronic immune disorder which affects women 9 times more than men and usually strikes between the ages of 9 and 50. It affects 1.5 million people in the United States, including approximately 10,000 children. African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native American seem to get this disease more than Caucasians.Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the immune system works against the body's own tissue. A healthy immune system produces proteins that protect the body. Lupus symptoms also vary in severity from very mild to very serious depending on which and how many organs are involved. Lupus is hard to diagnose and is sometimes mis-diagnosed There is one characteristic symptom which is a butterfly-shaped rash. The problem is not everyone who suffers from Lupus will have that same rash. If the butterfly-rash can be seen it is evident that it is Lupus and the diagnoses can be confirmed. If you have been diagnosed with Lupus you may be exceptionally tired, there may be areas of the skin that have red rashes and you most likely will have joint pain. A more serious version of Lupus can cause you to have difficulty with your kidneys, heart, lungs, blood and nervous system. The actual symptoms of Lupus depend on how serious the body organs are affected and which organs are affected.
- Fatigue: We mentioned that Lupus suffers would at times be extremely tired. Approximately 90% share that symptom, whether it is mild fatigue or extreme fatigue. The inability to carry out daily tasks is prevalent in those that suffer with Lupus When they become tired, it is usually a sign that a Lupus symptom flare-up is about to occur.
- Joint and muscle pain: Joint pain (arthritis) affects about 95% of Lupus patients. Some 70% state that that is the first symptom of Lupus that they had. The arthritis often occurs on the right and left side of the body at the same time. It is important to understand that not everyone who suffers from arthritis has Lupus. It is just one of the symptoms that seem to be present with those who have Lupus.
- Skin problems: A butterfly skin rash is the most important symptom in Lupus patients because it is a clue that indeed the person does have Lupus. There may be additional skin rashes or sores located mainly on the upper body.
- Nervous system: The majority of persons diagnosed with Lupus will have problems with headaches, depression and anxiety.
- Kidneys: Deposits of antibodies within the cells of the kidneys have been found in those with Lupus. Patients that have this symptom may eventually develop kidney failure.
- Heart: Inflammation of the heart sac may develop with people who have Lupus. This inflammation may cause unexpected intense pain in the chest, neck, back, shoulders, or arms. There might also be more evidence of clogged arteries which means they are more likely to suffer from heart attacks or strokes.
- Blood vessels: Varying sizes of blue or reddish spots on the skin or nails may be the result of inflammation or bleeding from blood vessels.
- There are other Lupus symptoms that may or may not be present; such as sensitivity to light, mental health problems, fever, weight gain or loss, hair loss and swollen glands.
Because Lupus is so difficult to diagnose, one of the challenges is first making the diagnosis and then treating the disease. Both doctors and patients and moms and dads of children who have Lupus can understand how frustrating it can be.