Lupus is an autoimmune disease, where the body attacks itself. That is, the immune system mistakes the body's own tissues as foreign invaders and attacks them.
Despite what you might think, sometimes all the signs do, in fact, point to lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that often acts like other diseases. This makes lupus particularly difficult to diagnose, and it also makes it difficult for people to see the signs.
11 warning signs of lupus you shouldn't ignore
Doctors have presented some important signs that you should be aware of if they are very recurrent or if they are chronic for a considerable time.
1. Weight loss
Losing weight when you're not concentrating on losing it can be a great sign of many different diseases. However, because lupus is an autoimmune disorder, that means it causes the body to attack itself. We may lose a lot of weight in a short period of time without changing our eating or exercise habits.
Fatigue is a fairly common symptom of quite a number of diseases, which is why lupus is so difficult to diagnose with this symptom. But this type of fatigue goes beyond feeling "tired." “This is not just your daily fatigue; with lupus you feel like you literally can't get out of bed. Not even mid-afternoon coffee is enough to cheer you up. If you have unusual fatigue, be sure to contact your doctor.
3. Constant flu-like symptoms
It is quite common to get a cold or the flu. This is what makes lupus so difficult to diagnose. However, if you have persistent flu-like symptoms that don't seem to be getting better, you'll want to make an appointment with your doctor right away.
The difference between the flu and lupus is that the flu gets better in four to 10 days. So, if you feel like you have the flu, but it doesn't go away, this could be a great warning sign that you are dealing with lupus and you should get help.
This is one of the lesser known symptoms of lupus, and one that is often not controlled. If your heartburn seems to be persistent, you may want to see your doctor, especially if you have heartburn when you haven't eaten anything that could cause it in the first place. This type of heartburn is going to be constant and does not seem to go away with antacids. See your doctor if your heartburn doesn't go away to see if there are other signs of lupus.
5. Swelling in the joints
Are you in your late twenties or early thirties, but feel like you have the joints of a seventies? Do you have a lot of swelling in your knees, elbows, and other joints that makes you feel like you have arthritis? This is another early warning sign of lupus.
Lupus arthritis often occurs on both sides of the body at the same time. It is often felt in the wrists, the small joints of the hands, elbows, knees, and ankles. Along with the other signs on this list, it's important to speak to a doctor when you feel like your joints just aren't working like they used to.
Sunburn is very common when you spend a lot of time in the sun, but a warning sign of lupus can be a rash that appears almost instantly when you are in the sun. Because lupus is an autoimmune disease, your body will constantly fight itself.
Other common skin symptoms include sores or red spots on the arms, hands, face, neck, or back; sores in the mouth or on the lips; and a raised, scaly, red or purple rash on the face, neck, scalp, ears, arms and chest.
Sunburn after a day at the beach without sunscreen probably doesn't mean you have lupus. However, see your doctor if walking down the street on a sunny afternoon gives you a painful rash.
7. Hair loss
Everyone loses some hair every day, but when you start to lose an unnatural amount of hair, you may want to go see how you are.
According to a medically reviewed article by Rheumatologist and Immunologist: “Hair loss is the result of inflammation of the skin and scalp. Some people also have thinning beards, eyebrows, eyelashes, and other body hairs. Lupus can make hair feel brittle, break easily, and look a bit uneven, which gives it the name "lupus hair."
Lupus can cause your hair to start thinning quickly, causing your hair to stick out of your head in large, unnatural clumps. About 90% of all lupus cases diagnosed in women show some type of hair loss in one way or another.
8. Poor blood circulation
If your fingers and hands never seem to get warm, it may show signs of poor blood circulation. You may notice that your nails are always blue and every time you touch someone, you feel warm because the circulation in your hands is so poor. This happens regardless of the climate or the temperature of the room. If you have problems with circulation in your extremities, contact your doctor.
9. Chest pain
Chest pain can be the precursor to all kinds of diseases and conditions that have to do with your heart or lungs. However, if you've already been treated for heart disease and your chest pain persists, you may want to ask your doctor to run some lupus tests. Lupus can cause swelling around the lungs, leading to chest pain that can fool most doctors into looking in the wrong place for the cause
In women, lupus can cause miscarriages due to the fact that lupus causes many problems with blood clotting.
“Although most pregnancies go well, there is an increased risk of miscarriage and premature delivery. Women with lupus are at risk for renal (kidney) complications, including kidney failure if the pregnancy occurs during a phase of active kidney disease.
Aside from miscarriages, women may find that their periods are also extremely heavy. They may also have trouble tracking their period due to irregularities. Be vigilant, but there are also many other diseases specifically in women that can cause irregularities, heavy bleeding, and difficulty carrying to term. The best thing is to get checked out by both a gynecologist and an autoimmune specialist.
11. Pain when going to the bathroom
Lupus often affects the kidneys, and anyone who has had kidney problems can tell you that urinating becomes painful once your kidneys start working. If you have trouble using the bathroom regularly, along with other signs of lupus, visit your doctor for a checkup.
Lupus is a difficult disease because it is often hidden like other diseases, leading doctors down the wrong path. However, you can easily rule out other problems with some fairly simple tests, so be sure to keep track of all your symptoms so that you can go to your doctor informed about what you may or may not have.
Joint discomfort is common and usually felt in the hands, feet, hips, knees, or spine. Pain may be constant or it can come and go. Sometimes the joint can feel stiff, achy, or sore. Some patients complain of a burning, throbbing, or “grating” sensation. In addition, the joint may feel stiff in the morning but loosen up and feel better with movement and activity. However, too much activity could make the pain worse.