Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body rather than protect it. As a result, the healthy tissue is targeted and damaged. A lupus rash on the face is one of the most obvious signs of the condition, making it distinct from other ailments.
The medical term used to describe the condition is systemic lupus erythematosus. Lupus is more common in women than men, and those of African and Asian descent are generally more susceptible. Lupus symptoms are often difficult to recognize. This is because the symptoms are often overlooked or mistaken for other conditions. The following 12 lupus symptoms occur early on in the process so it’s crucial to identify these in order to hinder its progression.
Fatigue is one of many common early symptoms of lupus erythematosus. However, if you’re feeling tired all the time, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have lupus as there are plenty of reasons you may be tired. Around 85% of people with lupus experience fatigue on a regular basis, and taking a quick nap at any point during the day can address this issue. Although, when these people take afternoon naps, it can cause insomnia at night. The best way to deal with this, therefore, is to stay energetic throughout the day.
2. Hair loss
Again, this is a symptom that might be due to something else but is, in fact, consistent with lupus patients. An early symptom of lupus is hair thinning. This occurs as the skin all over the body becomes inflamed and covered in flakes, killing off the hair follicles and stopping their production. Usually, it will be on the scalp, but you can also expect to experience the thinning of hair all over the body, including the beard and eyebrows. Before the hair stops growing entirely, it might also look thin and brittle.
3. Mysterious fevers
Fevers that appear to come out of nowhere are also common among people suffering from lupus. If you find that you’re experiencing abnormal fevers on a regular basis, it’s important that you consult with a doctor.
4. Dry mouth and eyes
People with lupus disease will also suffer from dry mouth and eyes. Your mouth doesn’t produce as much saliva as it normally does, leading to discomfort in the mouth and a constant urge to drink water. A similar thing happens with the eyes; the tear ducts will not produce as much fluid, meaning the eyes feel uncomfortable as if they have sand stuck in them. This painful, gritty feeling is easily noticeable and something you should seek medical advice about immediately.
5. Thyroid irregularity
Thyroid irregularity can occur due to a myriad of conditions, but people suffering from lupus will almost always experience issues with their thyroid. The thyroid helps control the metabolic process, and when it is not working properly, all of your main organs won’t function properly. You will see a change in weight (either a significant and unexplainable loss or gain), and you may also experience dry skin and mood swings.
6. Stomach and digestion problems
Not all, but many people with lupus erythematosus experience gastrointestinal conditions and problems. These include heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. Of course, even over-the-counter medications can help to alleviate these symptoms regardless of whether you have lupus. If you experience indigestion frequently, the easiest way to alleviate the pain is to reduce the size of your meals. You should also cut down on the amount of caffeine you take in and speak to your doctor about what else may help.
7. Sore joints
Sore joints are a common problem for people with lupus, which is a direct result of inflammation. Your joints will visibly swell up and be sore, and you’ll experience most of the pain in the morning. These pains, however, may disappear and reappear on and off.
8. Kidney problems
A condition called nephritis, which is essentially kidney inflammation, is common among people with lupus. These symptoms will occur within about five years of lupus developing in the body, and you will notice the problems when your feet and the lower parts of your legs begin to swell. It also causes high blood pressure and blood in urine.
9. Lupus rash
About half of all lupus sufferers will experience a rash that is in the shape of a butterfly and sits on the bridge of the nose and reaches out onto the side of both cheeks. This can also be accompanied by lesions on the rest of the body and problematic skin in general, which can also become extremely sensitive to sunlight and, in some cases, artificial light.
10. Lung problems
Finally, the lungs will also suffer as a result of lupus inflaming them and causing damage to the blood vessels. The inflammation can affect both the lungs and the diaphragm, causing extreme chest pain. This pain will usually be most intense when inhaling. Over time, lung size can actually shrink, which, of course, your doctors will be able to treat.
11. Muscular discomfort
Another aspect of early lupus symptoms could be muscular discomfort and joint sensitivity. Although less common than fatigue, this will still present itself in around 70% of lupus patients often as one of the early symptoms. This will commonly happen early in the day along with a little swelling. The most likely place to feel this is in the wrists along with the minor joints such as elbows, hands, knees, and ankles.
12. Increased sensitivity to light
Other early lupus symptoms include an increased sensitivity to light which is likely to lead to a flare-up of lupus rash. Issues such as depression and anxiety may also be prevalent along with headaches. It is possible to experience heart problems. An inflammation of the heart sac can cause sudden discomfort and pain in your chest. There is an approximate 80% likelihood of fever. Sadly, weight and hair loss is also common. Finally, your lymph glands may swell up.
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