Lupus symptoms vary from person to person, but there are common symptoms to keep an eye out for if you suspect you might have the disease.
It is important to note that symptoms may not happen at the same time and that each person may only experience a few of the following.
Here is a comprehensive list of the most common Lupus symptoms you could experience:
- Swollen Joints
- Painful Joints
- Fever, usually 100 degrees or higher with no known cause
- Rashes, usually on face and neck. Sometimes the rash can appear on the trunk of the body
- Chest pain upon taking a deep breath
- Thinning hair, or hair loss
- Sun Sensitivity
- Mouth or nose sores
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Swollen glands
- Purple or pale fingers or toes
There are additional lupus symptoms, some of which can be more severe, but these vary depending on which body systems are affected in the patient. The more serious the lupus and disease activity, the more complications that could arise.
Body Systems and Organs Affected by Lupus
The Brain and Central Nervous System
Some people who deal with CNS or brain involvement with lupus can experience symptoms such as dizziness, behavior changes, vision issues, headaches, seizures and even strokes or TIAs (ministrokes). In addition, you may hear lupus patients refer to having “brain fog” which can present as memory issues or trouble thinking clearly.
Lupus can cause major damage to a patient’s kidney, decreasing kidney function or leading to kidney failure and the need for dialysis. In addition, kidney failure is a leading cause of death among lupus patients.
The Blood and Blood Vessels
The blood and blood vessels can be affected in some patients with lupus leading to anemia, blood clotting issues, vasculitis, and abnormal blood levels of hemoglobin, white blood cells, platelets, etc.
When inflammation and disease activity occurs and affects the lungs, a patient can experience trouble breathing, pain upon breathing, and inflammation of the chest cavity lining (pleurisy). Pneumonia and bleeding in the lungs might also occur.
Lupus can also lead to inflammation of the heart muscle and arteries. Cardiovascular disease and heart attacks can also occur in lupus and are the leading cause of death for lupus patients.
Other Complications from Lupus
Lupus can increase your risk of other complications because of weakened immunity.
A weakened immune system means your body may not be able to fight off infections that someone with a healthy immune system would be able to fight off easily. Colds, bacterial infections, and viruses are often stronger and last longer in patients with Lupus because their bodies are less able to battle them.
It also means that other health-related situations, such as pregnancy, can be high risk for Lupus patients. Women with Lupus usually have safe pregnancies, but there are some risks associated with pregnancy when there is more serious organ-involvement already established. Pregnant women with Lupus are at a higher risk of developing preeclampsia if they’ve had kidney involvement related to their Lupus, a condition which must be treated right away.
There are other extremely less common symptoms and side effects of Lupus that can occur, especially since no two cases of Lupus are exactly alike, and genetics, environment, and lifestyle affect how Lupus appears in your body. Always consult a physician about new symptoms you may be experiencing.
Continue reading through the in-depth series:
#1: What is Lupus?
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