Lupus, romantically named after the wolf, is a very dangerous disease that can often be fatal, and when it isn’t, it makes the sufferers’ life pretty much unlivable. Lupus is an autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissues, thereby causing symptoms like inflammation, swelling, and damage to the joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart and lungs.
Signs you are suffering from lupus!
- Out of proportion and persistent fatigue: This is the most common sign of lupus. Almost 90% of patients experience it, according to a research.
- Slight to high fever: Low grade fever due to no justifiable cause can be another sign of lupus. The fever usually comes and goes. Talk to your doctor if you experience this symptom as this could be a sign of inflammation, infection, or imminent flare-up of the disease.
- Thinning of hair: Thinning of the hair is often one of the first signs of lupus due to inflammation of the skin and scalp. Some people have hair coming out in clumps while others just have a less alarming thinning of the hair symptoms. Lupus can make hair feel dry and brittle. Doctors call this ‘lupus hair’.
- Unexplained skin rash called malar rash: Also called the butterfly rash, it appears on the cheek and the bridge of the nose. 50% of patients get this rash. It can appear suddenly or after exposure to the sun. Usually it appears just before a flare-up of lupus.
- Chest pain which increases with breathing: The lungs and the blood vessels in them become inflamed. This makes breathing difficult and can also cause chest pains when you breathe. The lung size can also shrink due to lupus, causing shortness of breath.
- Painful, stiff or swollen joints: Inflammation due to lupus can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in your joints, particularly in the morning.
- Blood in urine: This happens due to inflammation of the kidneys or nephritis, which causes swelling in legs and feet and high blood pressure (BP). If lupus is not treated, you can also die of end stage renal disease.
- Persistent loss of appetite: Lupus causes acidity and indigestion and loss of appetite.
- Thyroid problems: Patients develop an autoimmune thyroid disease which can cause both weight loss and gain. The thyroid helps control your body’s metabolism and if it doesn’t function properly, it can affect vital organs like your brain and heart.
- Dry eyes and dry mouth: Some lupus patients develop Sjogren’s syndrome, another autoimmune disorder. This causes malfunctioning of glands responsible for tears and saliva in our body, hence your eyes may feel dry and your mouth will also remain dry.
Lupus is unpredictable and patients often suffer flares, or active symptoms of the disease, followed by periods of normalcy. Because the signs of this disease are so general, it’s easy to miss them; so, if you have been getting even three symptoms of lupus, it’s time to see a doctor. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a General Physician.