The cause of lupus is not certain, but most scientists consider it to be a genetical issue. However, genes are not the only factor in determining who gets lupus. There are several factors which might trigger the disease.
So what is lupus? It happens when something goes wrong with the immune system. Instead of warding off foreign substances present in the body, the immune system launches an attack on healthy cells and tissues and damaging them which in turn results in illness.
This reversal in the process might be the cause of damage in several parts of the body. The parts that are often affected are joints, skin, heart, lungs, kidney, digestive system and blood vessels. Lupus is of several kinds, and thus the manifestation of the symptoms of lupus may vary in different people. Though the disease can affect any gender, women get it more often than men.
What are the symptoms of lupus to watch out for?
It always pays to know what are the symptoms of lupus so that you can seek medical help quickly if you notice any of the indications of lupus.
Fatigue is a common symptom among people with lupus. If you are feeling exhausted without any reason, it’s time to consult your doctor. Reasons of lupus fatigue may be many starting from age, level of pain, medication, the condition of health, depression, smoking, lack of exercise and others. If taken care in time, some of the causes of fatigue can be treated.
- Mysterious fever
If you have a nagging low fever for no good reason at all which persists for long, then it might be a good idea to go to your medical provider. The temperature in question can be anywhere between 98.5˚F and 101˚F. Do not neglect if you experience such kind of fever from time to time.
- Loss of hair
Hair loss is very common among people who have lupus. Thinning hair results from skin and scalp inflammation. Although in most cases hair loss is gradual for few it happens in clumps and is more noticeable. Loss of hair due to lupus does not only happen on the head; it could be hair loss in the beard, eyebrows and other places. Lupus can cause a lot of damage to hair, making them brittle, rough and frayed.
- Rashes and skin irritations
A common indication of lupus is a butterfly rash that occurs in shape of a butterfly across the bridge of the nose spreading to the cheeks. There may be itchy or non-itchy rashes elsewhere in the body too. That is not all; some people with lupus develop sensitivity to sunlight and develop red and purple rashes, flaky skin on different areas that are more exposed to the sun like face, arms and the neck.
- Changes happening on and around nails
If you notice changes in your nails like discoloring, falling off, cracking, or reddish spots appearing around the bed of your nails, then it may be time to check for lupus.
- Joint pain
Pain in the joints and muscles without any reason at all may be an indication of lupus. Pain occurring on both sides of the body simultaneously, joints feeling warm and swollen in hand, finger, wrist, knees may be indications of the disease. However, these joint pains occurring from lupus may not result in damaging the joints permanently like arthritis, and joint problems from lupus may come on and off.
- Digestive problems
The entire digestive system may get affected by lupus, and that doesn’t mean only the stomach, it may start right at the mouth. Lesions inside the mouth and on the lips are symptoms of lupus too. Heartburn, difficulty in swallowing, acid reflux, gas may occur due to the inflamed esophagus. There are some other related problems that lupus can invite such as lack of saliva resulting in cavities in teeth and some gum diseases. Other symptoms of lupus may be nausea, constipation, diarrhea, ulcers of the colon. If you notice any of these symptoms continuing for a long time, it is advisable to consult your doctor.
- Central nervous system
Not all but some people who have lupus have these problems, but one among five may suffer from loss of memory, seizures, headaches, dizziness, mood swings and change in behavior. These happen when lupus affects the central nervous system or changes happen in the brain or spinal cord. Some eye-related symptoms of lupus may also occur in people who have lupus. Dry eyes due to decreased tear secretion may cause burning sensation, itchy eyes, blurred vision and related problems like scarring of the cornea.
- Pulmonary issues
There may be swelling in the pulmonary system which may affect the lungs and blood vessels. This may even influence the diaphragm, resulting in chest pain while breathing. Persisting breathing troubles resulting from lupus may shrink the size of the lungs.
In case of any of these symptoms of lupus continue for long, consult your doctor who can help diagnose and start a treatment tailored to your needs and develop a treatment plan to avoid flares, trim down damage to organs and related problems.