What is Lupus?
Lupus (lupus erythematosus) is an autoimmune disease that attacks the body’s tissues and organs. Lupus usually irritates the skin and may cause inflammation in multiple areas including: skin, joints, kidneys, heart and lungs, and the blood cells. Generally, when someone gets sick, like having a “cold,” your body’s immune system will create antibodies to fight off the germs and bacteria that are making you sick. In the case of a Lupus patient, the immune system is unable to decipher between foreign cells, such as viruses, and the cells and tissues that make up the body. Without this ability to tell the difference between foreign bacteria and the cells and tissues, the immune system, wrongly attacks the body.
What are the Symptoms?
It can be very difficult to diagnose Lupus as the symptoms are often similar to those in other diseases and ailments. For instance, a lupus patient may feel fatigued or have a fever, but there are many ailments that may cause these symptoms. Someone with a cold or flu may be both fatigued and have a fever, and sometimes, simply not eating healthy food and getting proper rest can cause you to feel fatigued. With that said, typically a specific butterfly looking facial rash, along with the other symptoms may help your physician diagnose your condition.
Here are some of the most common symptoms with Lupus:
Most lupus patients suffer from physical fatigue. In some cases it’s just a mild case of fatigue and others find it extremely difficult to engage in day to day activities.
Rashes and Skin Problems
As stated earlier, rashes and skin issues are very common with patients and the distinctive “butterfly rash” helps physicians to diagnose Lupus. Other skin conditions include: red and purple rashes on face, arms and back, flaky red spots on body and skin sores.
Joint and Muscle Pain
Many Lupus patients suffer from pain and stiffness in the muscles or joints. Imagine the soreness you feel a few days after working out for the first time, in a long while. For many, joint and muscle pain is one of the first symptoms of Lupus, especially when no physical activity was done to warrant the soreness.
There are many other symptoms caused by Lupus, but a combination of chronic fatigue, rashes, and joint and muscle pain are usually a very good indication of lupus, especially if all these things are happening together.
What to do if you have symptoms?
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to not self-diagnose and see a physician that can properly diagnose your condition and create a treatment plan for you. Fortunately, advances in medicine and treatment for diseases like Lupus have improved over the years.
The physicians at IBJI are highly trained to help you and your medical team manage the muscle and joint discomfort associated with Lupus. Learn more about IBJI’s lupus experts.