Lupus is defined as a chronic inflammatory disease that manifests when the body’s immune system begins attacking it’s organs. Any inflammation that is induced by lupus may affect multiple systems within the body, specifically the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart, and lungs. Lupus materializes more often in women than men, an explanation for this phenomenon has not yet been identified. There are four different types of lupus and they are defined as either: systemic lupus erythematosus, discoid lupus erythematosus, drug-induced lupus erythematosus and neonatal lupus. Of the four types mentioned, systemic lupus erythematosus is the most prevalent form of the disease. Most people with lupus lead productive lives once they are treated for the disease.
The true cause of lupus had not been identified. There are some factors that appear to increase a person’s risk for developing the disease. Some of these factors may include.
- Environmental factors such as sunlight, stress, certain medications, and viruses have been known to trigger symptoms in people who are likely to develop lupus.
- Hormonal factors: it is apparent that lupus will develop mainly in women during the reproductive years that is between the ages of 15 and 45.
- Immune system factors: the disease is linked to an unexplained deterioration of the immune system.
Common Symptoms of Lupus
The signs and symptoms of lupus will manifest in different ways among individuals. Some individuals may only display a few transient symptoms while others have more pronounced and sustaining symptoms. The symptoms do not necessarily remain obvious for a prolonged period which may contribute to the difficulty experienced in diagnosing the disease. The disease will then have periods of flares where the symptoms are at their worst and remissions where the symptoms subside for a period and no evidence of the disease is present.
The Common Signs and Symptoms are listed below
- Hair loss, alopecia.
- Sunlight or light sensitivity also refered to as photosensitivity
- Joint pain and stiffness which may be accompanied by some swelling (oedema).
- Muscular aches and pains.
- Butterfly-shaped rash that extends across the face and nose.
- Fever with no apparent cause.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Kidney dysfunction that cannot be explained.
- Skin rashes which are especially provoked after sun exposure.
- Anaemia, low red blood cell count.
- Inability to think effectively, memory problems and disorientation.
- Some chest pain that may be experienced when inhaling deeply.
Other atypical symptoms will include
- Having a stroke or strokes.
- Hallucinating or seeing and hearing things that are not really there.
- Blood clots
- Dizzy spells
- Depression or feeling sad.
- Discoloured purple or pale fingers or toes from cold or stress.
- Sores in the mouth or nose which are typically painless.
- Migraines or severe headaches.
Flares (Peak symptom(s))
Flares occur when the symptoms of the disease are at their absolute worst. These flares have a tendency to be temporary, lasting only a relatively short period. An individual may develop muscular aches and pain at one point, perhaps during a week or more and then suddenly stop experiencing the symptom quite quickly thereafter. Despite being on an effective course of treatment individual may realize that there are still some things that will induce flares of the associated symptoms. For example, a person may realize that he or she develops multiple rashes all over the body when exposed to sunlight. A few triggers that may incite flares include:
- Specific medications
- Working excessively and not getting adequate sleep.
- Not taking the medications prescribed for treatment
- Being exposed to sunlight and some other forms of artificial lighting.