Lupus is an autoimmune disease and its impact isn’t the same for all. This means some people can have mild symptoms while others may have severe Lupus symptoms. Inflammation or swelling is one of the most common symptoms.
Its symptoms may start appearing in the early teenage. It is basically an imbalance in the body’s immune system which adversely affects healthy tissue. Lupus is also known as a disease of a thousand faces due to its complex nature. Early symptoms include:
Initially, a patient may experience low-grade unexplained fever ranging between 98.5 ˚F and 101˚F. People suffering from lupus feel chills and fever often. Most people ignore seeing a doctor in this case. Infection or inflammation can cause a low-grade fever and it is recommended to see a doctor when you experience a low-grade fever.
A wide number of people experience tiredness when lupus attacks the body. This condition can be controlled with an afternoon nap however, when you sleep during the day it can cause insomnia. You can keep your energy levels high by following a healthy diet routine and leading an active life.
A butterfly-shaped rash on the skin is the most common symptom of lupus. The rash commonly appears on the cheeks and Nose Bridge. Rashes suddenly appear after the skin is exposed to sunlight.
Non-itchy lesions can also appear in other body parts and some people may experience sensitivity to artificial lighting and sun exposure. Even discoloration in the toes and fingers may occur.
Inflammation in the scalp or skin can lead to hair loss. It is so evident that people lose lots of hair and thinning of hair also occurs slowly. Not only scalp hair but eyebrows, beard, body hair, and eyelashes also get thin with time. Brittle weak and ragged hair is common with Lupus.
Inflammation in Kidney
Kidney inflammation or nephritis is another symptom of lupus. This inflammation refrains kidneys to filter waste and toxins from the bloodstream. Usually, it may occur within five years after the start of lupus.
Symptoms of kidney inflammation due to lupus include high blood pressure, swelling in the legs, blood in urine, dark-colored urine, frequent urination at night, and pain on the side. Kidney monitoring is necessary.
Pulmonary system inflammation is a condition when the lungs swell and this inflammation reaches to blood vessels of the lungs. This also affects the diaphragm and can cause chest pain while breathing. The condition is called pleuritic chest pain and Lung shrinkage is also a possibility over time.
Acid reflux, heartburn, and other gastrointestinal issues appear when people suffer from lupus. Antacids can treat mild symptoms and frequent heartburn or acid reflux but need changes in diet habits. Caffeinated beverages should be avoided. Lying down after a meal can elevate this problem.
Swelling & Pain in Joints
Inflammation due to lupus can lead to stiff joints. The pain and swelling in joints appear especially in the morning. Initially, all these symptoms are mild but later become more evident. In this case, it is necessary to see a doctor so that you know that the joint problem is because of lupus or other issues like arthritis.
Dryness in Mouth and Eyes
Lupus can also cause dry mouth and eyes. This is because people may develop another autoimmune disorder like Sjogren’s disease. Sjogren’s is responsible for malfunctioning the glands that produce saliva and tears. In this case, lymphocyte accumulation happens in glands. Even skin dryness is also experienced.
Autoimmune thyroid disease can also hit the person with lupus. The thyroid is responsible for controlling the metabolic functions of the body. Its malfunctioning can affect the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys.
This often results in weight loss or weight gain along with mood swings. Hypothyroidism is a condition when the thyroid is underactive and hyperthyroidism is essential because of an overactive thyroid.
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Why does Lupus happen?
The immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs. The body’s immune system is responsible for fighting against bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Y-shaped proteins in the immune system are known as antibodies that protect our body. Antibodies communicate with the cells to remove the threat.
A person with lupus has an autoimmune condition where the immune system cannot distinguish between healthy tissues and unwanted substances. This mistake causes damage to the tissues which results in swelling and pain.
Autoimmune conditions like lupus also cause antinuclear antibodies that target the cell’s nucleus containing genetic material. Still, research is being done to understand the cause of lupus and it is believed that multiple factors are responsible for lupus such as environmental, genetic, or a combination of both.
1. Genetic factors
Immune system response is widely dependent on genes. Studies show that a person has a higher chance of developing lupus if anyone in the family already has it. If one of the twins has lupus then there are 24% chance that the other may also develop lupus. However, it can even happen to people who do not have a family history of lupus.
Lupus can develop in anyone. Early diagnosis, medical assistance, and treatment are necessary to keep the condition in control.
The human body produces chemical substances called hormones. These are responsible for regulating cell functioning and hormonal disturbance contributes to various health issues.
Evidence shows that females between 15 to 44 years are more likely to suffer from lupus as compared to males. During reproductive ages, this problem is more evident. Only 20% of lupus cases appear after 50 years.
Autoimmune conditions like lupus happen more in females because of high estrogen exposure. Estrogen is produced more in females which likely increases the chance of lupus. Many females also experience lupus symptoms during pregnancy when estrogen levels are high.
3. Environmental factors
Along with other factors like foreign elements or chemicals, environmental factors also contribute to lupus. People who are genetically prone to lupus are greatly affected by environmental factors. These triggers include:
4. Sunlight Exposure
Lupus symptoms can worsen due to contact with direct sunlight. Further research is also required. Ultraviolet radiation can cause damage to cells and genetic material which contributes to the development of lupus.
People with lupus are prone to infections. So, infections play important role in developing this auto-immune issue, especially in those who are susceptible.
Smoke can change genetic mutations causing lupus.
Air pollution can also develop the risk of developing lupus.
The potential symptoms of lupus are not limited and can range from oral ulcers, muscle pain, enlarged lymph nodes, osteoporosis, chest pain, and depression. Some symptoms also include dizziness, anemia, and seizures. It is not likely that everyone gets all symptoms. More often when any new symptom appears the other vanish.
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