What is Lupus?
Lupus is an incredibly complex autoimmune disease and diagnosing lupus can take a lot of time and many doctor visits. Patients will often get overlapping diagnosed with diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia etc. It is not uncommon that these diagnoses happen before a diagnosis of lupus is made. This can be very frustrating for both the physician and the patient.
While men certainly can develop lupus, 90% of those affected with lupus are women between the ages of 15 and 45. The majority of those affected are people of color.
There are 4 types of Lupus
- Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus (also known as Chronic Cutaneous Lupus) which typically affects the skin and can cause thick, red, scaly rashes on the face, neck, and scalp that can lead to scarring.
- Drug-induced Lupus Erythymatosus. Drug-induced lupus is a rare, almost always a temporary form of lupus that can occur as a side effect of certain medications, including several drugs commonly used to treat heart disease and hypertension. Drug induced lupus only occurs after long-term use of a medication. Typically the disease disappears once the medication is stopped.
- Neonatal Lupus Erythematosus is a rare form of lupus in newborn babies whose mothers have lupus antibodies, which are transferred to the baby at birth. 50% of these mothers may have the antibodies but not have lupus herself.
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE) is the most common form for lupus. This type of lupus may cause inflammation in the entire system. It is known to cause the immune system to attack its own tissue and organs, including the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, blood, or skin.
Common Lupus symptoms
How do I know I have Lupus?
Known signs of Lupus:
Headaches, memory loss, confusion, shortness of breath, joint pain, butterfly rash on the face, dry and puffy eyes, nausea, hair loss, persistent bladder infections, chest pain, mouth sores, fingers and toes turning white or blue, sun sensitivity, extreme fatigue, and swelling of legs, feet, and joints.
Are you worried that you might have lupus?
If you have shown several of the signs of lupus you will need to get diagnosed. In order to make such a diagnosis, a patient must show clinical evidence of a multi-symptom disease (i.e., the individual has shown abnormalities in several different organ systems).
Lupus symptoms may have a sudden onset or progress slowly; they could be temporary or permanent, making it all the more confusing and concerning.
Here is a quick summary:
Lupus Friends and Family are not doctors and are not giving medical advice. If you have concerns about your health, you think you might have lupus, or have experienced changes in your health, please contact your doctor immediately.