Lupus can be challenging for everyone to diagnose because its symptoms may resemble those of other health conditions. In addition, the symptoms can differ widely from person to person.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects around 5 million people in the world. An autoimmune disease is a situation in which the body’s immune system attacks organs or tissues.
The main role of the immune system is to fight off foreign enemies, such as bacteria and viruses. For example, the immune system mistakes normal body tissues for harmful substances in a person with lupus.
As per result, it starts an inflammatory attack on healthy tissues, causing symptoms that vary from skin rashes to joint swelling to headaches.
In this article, learn about lupus symptoms and how they look.
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The immune system’s attack can affect several different body parts and systems. As per result, lupus can cause many symptoms that are different from person to person.
The symptoms of lupus appear or get worse during flares. However, once a flare is over, a person can have mild or no symptoms for weeks, months, or years.
A person with lupus notices some of the following symptoms.
Most people with lupus experience a red or purplish rash that spreads from the nose over to the cheeks in a shape that matches a butterfly.
The rash can be smooth, or it has a scaly or rough texture. It looks like a sunburn.
The medical term for this rash is a malar rash. However, other conditions can cause a malar rash, so this symptom alone is not just to indicate lupus. Other conditions also cause a malar rash include:
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Sores or red patches on the skin
Lupus cause two types of sore:
- Discoid lupus lesions, which are thick or disk-shaped. They usually appear on the scalp or face and can cause permanent scarring.
- Subacute cutaneous lesions, which look like patches of scaly skin or ring-shaped sores. They appear on areas of skin that get exposure to the sun, such as the arms, shoulders, and neck.
People who have these types of lesions avoid being out in the sunlight, use sunscreen, wear sun-protective clothes, and limit or avoid showing fluorescent light.
Must read: Redness And Swelling
A person with lupus has photosensitivity, which is a feeling of ultraviolet light. As a result, they notice that they get sunburned easily than other people.
The sun also triggers the development of skin lesions, such as a butterfly rash or discoid lupus.
Joint swelling and pain
One of the several common symptoms of lupus is joint problems. Lupus causes swollen, stiff, tender, or warm joints.
These issues normally affect the extremities, including the fingers, toes, knees, wrists, and ankles. Although lupus is not a kind of arthritis disease, the inflammation it causes can result in arthritis symptoms.
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Other symptoms of lupus include:
- Chest pain
- Severe fatigue
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Kidney problems
- Heart problems
- Weak muscles or reduced strength
Can you have lupus without the rash?
About 50%t of people with lupus have this rash. It occurs suddenly or appears after exposure to sunlight. Sometimes the rash appears before a flare-up. In addition, lupus can cause non-itchy lesions in other areas of the body.
Does lupus rash itch and burn?
In cutaneous lupus, the immune system targets your skin cells, causing inflammation that begins to red, thick, and usually scaly rashes and sores that burn or itch. Symptoms flare up and go in unpredictable patterns.
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To diagnose lupus, your doctor will:
- Discuss your symptoms and past medical history
- Perform blood tests to look for antibodies and proteins, check your blood cell counts, and measure clotting capacity
- Urine tests to check your kidney function
- A biopsy of your skin or kidneys
Treatment for lupus focuses on leading lupus flares and preventing them when possible.
Some medications that doctors prescribe to help with lupus symptoms include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to overcome swelling and pain in the joints and tissues.
- Steroids fight inflammation
- Antimalarial drugs, which help decrease the immune system’s activity and decrease photosensitivity.
- Immunosuppressive drugs
- Anticoagulants to help stop blood clots.
With proper treatment, several people who have lupus can live full, active lives.
, they see a doctor daily and follow an individualized treatment plan to avoid severe disease complications.
Still have any questions about lupus? Ask in the comments section!
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