Healthy Living

What are the Early Signs of Lupus?

What are the Early Signs of Lupus?

Key Takeaways

  • Lupus is a condition that usually affects women and isn’t easy to detect, especially because of its multiple symptoms.
  • Four out of ten lupus patients have a rough, reddish rash on the nose bridge and cheeks in a pattern resembling a butterfly shape.
  • With proper medical treatment and lifestyle controls, people with lupus can live normal lives.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (also known as lupus) is a condition that usually affects women. It occurs as a result of antibodies or lymphocytes generated against substances that exist in the body. Approximately one out of 2,100 people has the condition.

Women are five times more vulnerable to getting lupus than men. However, male victims of the disease experience more serious symptoms. Black females are three times more likely to get lupus than white females. The disease is hereditary. An individual whose close relative has been diagnosed with lupus has high chances of contracting the condition. You need to check and see if you are genetically predisposed to get lupus if others in your family have had lupus at one time or another; chances are that you will likely get it, as well.

Lupus patients commonly experience times when they have slight or no symptoms, which are later replaced by a sudden outburst of symptoms. The disease’s symptoms may be slight, average, or serious. This is why you need to head in for regular checkups and report any symptoms to your doctor, who would then run a few tests to help determine if you have lupus or not.

Usually, it isn’t easy to detect the disease. Therefore, most professionals think that there are more undiagnosed cases of the disease than are currently known, due to the illness’ multiple symptoms and difficulty in detection. With proper medical treatment and lifestyle controls, people with lupus can live normal lives. The difficulty lies in being able to detect and diagnose lupus on time. Since many health issues can cause lupus, it is often difficult to detect it right away.

Extreme tiredness

Due to the effect of lupus on the whole body, patients are usually physically and emotionally stressed, consequently leading to extreme tiredness. The fatigue gets worse when there is an outburst of other symptoms. This extreme tiredness needs to be managed during treatment, since it aggravates the symptoms.

If you are more irritable than usual or more stressed out, then there are chances that you could have lupus. Therefore, schedule an appointment with your doctor and get it diagnosed as soon as possible. Your doctor may run several tests to determine if you have lupus, and you need to be completely upfront regarding your medical history and any other medications and supplements you may be taking at the moment. This can have a bearing on your diagnosis and treatment, so it is imperative that you are upfront with your doctor.

Loss of hair and dry, scaly scalp

Hair loss, which may affect the entire scalp or some parts of the head, is common in lupus patients. The scalp may also appear dry with a scaly look.

Various diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, which is often mistaken for lupus, are characterized by loss of hair. It may not be easy to differentiate hair loss caused by rheumatoid arthritis and that which results from lupus, thus making it hard to make the right diagnosis.

The moment you spot abnormal loss of hair, schedule an appointment with your doctor for speedy diagnosis and treatment. Since lupus is often mistaken for something else, your doctor may have to run a few additional tests and then make an accurate diagnosis to recommend a treatment therapy for the same.

Facial Flushing

Four out of ten lupus patients have a rough reddish rash on their cheeks and bridges of their noses, commonly in a pattern resembling a butterfly shape. Although the rash mostly affects the face, it can develop on any other body part. Therefore, give yourself a thorough check to see if the rash has developed on your face or any other part of your body, and if it has, then you need to check in with your doctor right away.

The chest is the second most vulnerable body part to develop the rash. The rash may occur as one elevated, reddish abrasion with a disc shape. It can also appear as a large skin disturbance with many raised, red wounds. Ask your doctor to examine your chest area, as well as the rest of your body, for reddish abrasions.

The wounds can become severe if the patient is exposed to sunlight. The sunlight exposure may also give sensitive people a serious skin allergy, and other disease symptoms may get worse. This is why it is important to get in touch with your doctor right away, since, left untreated, the condition can get progressively worse.

Nasal and Oral Wounds

Around one third of lupus patients have sores in their noses or mouths. The sores can be very painful. If you start developing sores in your mouth and nasal area, then you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. These sores can be extremely painful, so you need to consult your doctor at the earliest, so that he can prescribe the right treatment and alleviate your pain, as well.

Extremely High Body Temperatures

Since most lupus patients are vulnerable to other infections, they may experience extremely high body temperatures of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you start noticing the fact that you are experiencing high body temperature with rashes on your body, then chances are that you have lupus. You need to consult your doctor immediately for some quick relief and treatment.

Constant Illnesses and Infections

Lupus patients have higher chances of contracting infections than people who don’t have the disease. This is because lupus medication affects the efficiency of the body's immunity. The illnesses may be slight or serious, and the patient should be taken to the hospital immediately when any infection symptom manifests.

If you notice that you are falling more sick than usual, then it could be that you have lupus. Since lupus affects your immune system, it leaves you wide open to getting infections. You are strongly advised to check up with your doctor right away, and upon confirming that it is indeed lupus, get the medication to help you manage the same.

Joint Issues

Lupus patients may experience stiff, painful, and swollen joints in various body parts. The patient may have morning stiffness some years before the manifestation of other lupus symptoms. The painful joints may or may not be swollen. Around 95% of lupus patients experience arthritic changes.

If you are experiencing severe joint pain, then you need to consult your healthcare worker right away. More often than not, this is brought on by lupus, and once diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor would issue you with the required treatment.

Sensitive and Painful Fingers and Toes

Lupus can make fingers or toes sensitive and painful. People diagnosed with lupus may experience Raynaud’s phenomenon, a condition which makes fingers and toes turn blue or white upon exposure to cold temperatures or when the patient is fatigued.

Therefore, if you are experiencing painful fingers and toes, then chances are high that you could have lupus. Consult your doctor right away and get a speedy diagnosis. After diagnosis, your doctor would prescribe a course of antibiotics for the condition and for alleviating the pain.

Dry Mouth and Eyes

A person diagnosed with lupus may have a dry mouth and eyes, thanks to an autoimmune condition, which is known as Sjogren’s syndrome. The condition causes failure of the tear and saliva glands. A female lupus patient may also have a dry vagina. Fortunately, saliva and tear production can be stimulated using certain drugs.

If you have dry mouth and eyes, then you may have lupus. You can get the same treated with an accurate diagnosis, so make sure that you consult your doctor at the earliest.

Anemia and Unusual Blood Tests

Abnormal blood test results, which include few blood cells or anemia (the common ones), may be observed in the case of lupus. Anemia is characterized by pallor, extreme tiredness, reduced breath, and reactivity to cold temperatures.

Due to reduced white blood cell count, the affected individual becomes more vulnerable to infection than a person with the normal cell count. This is why it is important that you consult a doctor at the earliest for speedy diagnosis and effective treatment.

Although it may be an indication of the presence of other various health issues, a lupus patient may have a high erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Your doctor would probably run a test to help confirm your condition.

Kidneys and liver functions are checked, since lupus may interfere with the organs. Test results showing abnormal liver and liver activities may be indications of the presence of lupus. Again, this is another test that in all probability your doctor would run to help confirm the diagnosis of lupus.

The results of antinuclear antibody examination may be high. This may be an indication that the immune system is excessively stimulated. If the antinuclear antibody test results are high, a more particular examination of antibodies is recommended.

Abnormal Urine Examination Results

Due to possible lupus damage to the kidneys, the urine may contain protein or red blood cells. Nevertheless, the presence of protein or red blood cells may be indications of other various diseases. If you are not sure if you have lupus or not, then your doctor may run a urine test to check for the presence of red blood cells or protein cells. If he should find some, then there is a chance that you could have lupus.

Effect on the Lungs

A lupus patient has high chances of contracting infections of the respiratory system, such as pneumonia. Through X-rays, lung tissues may appear inflamed, and they may have accumulated fluid. The patient may also experience chest pain. Half of lupus patients may have inflamed pleurae in the course of the disease. Nine out of ten people diagnosed have abnormal pulmonary function examination results.

As you can see that lupus is indeed dangerous, it is important that you consult a doctor at the earliest. Once your doctor makes the necessary diagnosis, you can get yourself treated right away. Left untreated, it can develop into something a lot more serious.

Due to its effect on various body parts, lupus diagnosis is difficult. Therefore, there is no single accurate and reliable examination for the disease. Health care experts rely on detailed physical assessment, diagnostic examinations, and the history of the patient for a lupus diagnosis.

This is why it is essential for you to visit your doctor at the earliest, since that will enable your doctor to make a speedy diagnosis. Your doctor would have to run a full complement of tests before arriving at a conclusion. It is imperative that you seek out a specialist to provide you with a speedy diagnosis and effective treatment.

Immediate diagnosis and treatment should be sought once the initial signs show. Due to the similarity of the early lupus symptoms with other autoimmune illnesses and connective tissue diseases, testing for them is paramount. Make sure that you contact your healthcare worker in time, so that he can speedily diagnose your condition and provide you with optimal treatment for the same.

If people with lupus are treated early, they may not experience pain and body weakness, as well as kidney, heart, or lung diseases. Therefore, immediate diagnosis and treatment will help them live actively and comfortably. Therefore, if you find yourself experiencing some of the lupus symptoms, then you need to head over to the nearest emergency room to get yourself checked out at the earliest. Remember, a speedy diagnosis can help provide you with effective treatment on time.

Thyroid Issues

Autoimmune thyroid illness is common in lupus victims. Since the thyroid helps in the regulation of the body processes, if it becomes faulty, it can affect important body organs, such as the brain, heart, kidney, and liver. This can lead to gain or loss in body weight. Dryness of skin and hair and mood swings are other symptoms of the disease. There are multiple medications for an under-active thyroid, as well as an overactive one.

Check in with the doctor and get yourself checked out at the earliest. The thyroid gland is quite important, and it can be affected by lupus. Get yourself checked out at the earliest for speedy diagnosis and effective treatment.

Digestive issues

Infrequent heartburn and indigestion of acid, among other digestive issues, appear infrequently in some people with lupus. Over-the-counter antacid medicines can treat the problems. Reducing food intake and avoiding caffeinated beverages help when one is experiencing frequent heartburn or indigestion of acid. One should not lie down immediately after eating, and a doctor should be consulted if the symptoms persist.

If you are experiencing signs of indigestion and heartburn too frequently, then you need to consult with your doctor at the earliest. This is to enable your doctor to run several tests and get it diagnosed correctly. With an effective diagnosis, your condition should improve and you should be able to better manage lupus.

Inflammation of the Kidneys

Individuals who have lupus can have inflamed kidneys (nephritis), which develop within lupus' initial five years of development. The affected kidneys become inefficient in filtering antigenic poisons and waste from the blood.

The lower parts of the legs of a person with inflamed kidneys are usually swollen, and the victim experiences hypertension. Their urine may be darker than normal, have blood spots, and they may frequently urinate at night. Early lupus symptoms may not be noticeable. Lupus patients are usually advised to have their kidney function monitored. If lupus is not treated, it can cause end-stage renal disease. Therefore, it is important for you to consult with your doctor and get yourself tested at the earliest.