Over 1.5 million people are living with lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder where one’s immune system attacks their body’s organs, joints and tissues. Anyone can get lupus, however lupus is more common in women of non-Caucasian descent. Since lupus is all too common it’s important that women be able to spot the signs and symptoms.
A common symptom of lupus is extreme fatigue. A lot of women with lupus wake up feeling tired, they never feel like they got a good night’s sleep. However, fatigue is a common symptom in many disorders and diseases, so just because you’re feeling burned out doesn’t mean you have lupus.
2. Joint pain and swelling
Swelling in the knuckles and joints is especially common in the morning. Joint pain and swelling can be easily confused with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), another autoimmune disease. However, there are two key differences between lupus and RA. Lupus usually occurs at a younger age and the joint pain and swelling in lupus can be unilateral, or only on one side. Those with lupus may notice swelling in their right hand but not their left. With RA the swelling is usually on both sides of the body.
3. Fevers and rash
An unexplained fever accompanied by a butterfly shaped rash on one’s face may indicate lupus.
4. Chest pain
Men and women with lupus often suffer from something called pleurisy. Pleurisy is inflammation of the pleural lining of the lung and the chest cavity. This can result in tightness in the chest and painful breathing. This pain is typically worse when taking a deep breath.
5. Bloody urine and kidney stones
Lupus can attack any of the organs in one’s body. In advanced stages of the disease the body’s immune system attacks the kidneys. Weakened function of the kidney results in blood in the urine due to lack of filtration. Those with lupus also have a high risk of developing kidney stones.
If you have lupus, there are several things you can do to be sure you stay well:
- Get plenty of rest
- Start an exercise program
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Keep up with your doctors
If you think you may be suffering from lupus, set up an appointment to see your doctor.
Have you or someone you love been diagnosed with lupus? How have you best managed your disease?
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