Symptoms Of Lupus
Back To Main Articles:
Drug Induced Lupus
|How Symptoms Are Experienced
Each person with lupus experiences the disease in a slightly different way. For example:
Skin rashes: A characteristic butterfly-shaped rash across the nose and cheeks (also called malar rash). Rashes may also occur behind the ears, on the shoulders, upper arms, chest, hands and other areas exposed to the sun. Many people who have lupus are sensitive to sunlight (known as photosensitivity). Skin rashes often appear or worsen after exposure to sunlight. In some instances they can scar.
Hair loss: Hair loss in women is a common side effect of lupus and lupus medications. Sometimes it is caused by scalp lesions which if they scar cause permanent hair loss. If it is caused by medications, hair usually grows back after treatment is finished.
Lupus is known as the great imitator because its symptoms are common to many diseases including thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis and a number of heart, bone, lung and muscle diseases. This is one of the reasons why a diagnosis can take so long to make. See, lupus diagnosis for more details.
The following parts of the body also can be affected by lupus:
Kidney Disorders: Kidney disease is the most serious illness resulting from lupus. About 50 to 70 percent of patients with severe lupus show signs of liver disease. Inflammation of the kidneys can impair their ability to get rid of waste products from the body. Although the patient does not usually experience pain, they may notice dark urine, swelling around the ankles, fingers, eyes and legs. More often than not, the first indication of kidney disease is an abnormal result from a routine blood or urine test.
Nervous system: The nervous system is a network of nerves that link the brain to every part of the body. Inflammation of these vessels can cause dizziness, headaches, memory and vision problems, seizures and strokes.
Joints: Inflammation of the joints can, in some patients, lead to permanent damage of the joints. Joint replacement surgery (JRS) may be necessary. One study reported that about 4 percent of lupus patients require JRS at some point. See also arthritis of the hips.
Sometimes the symptoms of lupus first appear in pregnancy. Those already diagnosed with lupus, and who have not taken Cytoxan or have kidney disease, usually have no problems conceiving. When they become pregnant they are more likely than other women to develop preeclampsia and to have early and late miscarriages (particularly if they have antiphospholipid antibodies, detected by a blood test). Occasionally the baby can develop neonatal lupus which can lead to congenital heart block; a form of heartbeat which is slow or interrupted.
|Related Articles on LUPUS
For more information, see the following:
Back to Homepage: Womens Health Advice
WOMENS HEALTH ADVICE: ABOUT SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS