Lupus is a medical condition that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. It can affect many different organ systems throughout your body and that causes inflammation. It can also be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are very much alike with other ailments. Most people experience it mildly but until now has no cure.
Because lupus disease can affect many different parts of the body, it can cause a lot of different symptoms. And most people with this disease don’t have all the symptoms. In addition, Lupus symptoms may come and go and they can change over time as well.
The most common symptoms of Lupus disease are:
- Extreme fatigue
- Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
- Sensitivity to sunlight or fluorescent light
- Chest pain when breathing deeply
- Dry eyes
- Headaches, confusion and memory loss
- Rashes, including a butterfly rash on the face
- Skin lesions
- Sores in the mouse or nose
The inflammation caused by Lupus can also cause complications with major body organs like the kidneys, blood and lungs.
When to see a doctor?
You should see a healthcare practitioner when you experience these common symptoms of Lupus. Seek help immediately when you develop an unexplained rash, ongoing fever, persistent aching and/ or fatigue.
Causes of Lupus
In most cases, the cause of Lupus disease is still unknown. However, when a family member had it, it could be possible that one is at a slightly higher risk than those who have no history of it in the family at all. Experts say that it can be a combination of underlying factors too.
It can be one or more of the following:
- Environment: Smoking, stress, and exposure to toxins
- Hormones: Abnormal hormone levels (e.g. increased estrogen levels)
- Infections: Like the cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr
- Medications: Long-term use of certain types of blood pressure medications, anti-seizure medications and antibiotics. People who have drug-induced lupus usually get better when they stop taking the medication.
Medications are prescribed to help you manage your symptoms and prevent lupus flares. Your doctor will have to check your symptoms closely and their severity to recommend the right treatments.
In addition to Lupus medication, your doctor may also recommend some lifestyle changes such as:
- Avoiding excess exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light
- Eating a healthy diet
- Taking supplements that may help to reduce symptoms (vitamin D, calcium, and fish oil)
- Getting regular exercise
- Quitting smoking (if you smoke)