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Lupus Symptoms and Signs

Posted Jan 09 2013 2:01pm

Lupus Symptoms and Signs
Lupus is a very difficult disease to diagnose.  Because lupus rarely presents itself the same way in any two people, it is very challenging for those in the medical profession to understand, diagnose and properly treat.  It often takes a very long time for a diagnosis, which can be extremely frustrating for both the patient and the physician alike. Lupus symptoms may have a sudden onset or progress slowly; they could be temporary or permanent, making it all the more confusing and concerning. There are, however certain signs and symptoms that may begin you asking the question, “Could I have lupus?”

Lupus Symptoms and SignsClick here to find more great lupus info-graphics!



Lupus can and often affects many different systems in the body, and therefore, if you do have lupus,  the symptoms and signs that you may experience will depend heavily on which part of the body is being affected by the disease, but here is a thorough yet abbreviated list;
  • Brain and Nervous System:  Persistent and unusual headaches, memory loss, or confusion.
  • Lungs:  Lupus can damage the lungs through pleurisy and pneumonitis (inflammation), or pulmonary emboli, resulting in shortness of breath and pain in the chest from deep breathing.
  • Eyes:  Lupus can damage nerves and blood vessels in the eye, leading to dry or puffy eyes, and increasing sensitivity to light.
  • Mouth:  Sores inside the mouth are a common symptom of lupus.
  • Skin: Lupus may cause skin rashes, and is known for its distinctive "butterfly" rash on the face usually over the cheeks and bridge of the nose. These rashes can be exacerbated by sun exposure (photo-sensitivity). You may also experience hives or sores which would also worsen with sun exposure.  Sudden and unexplained hair loss could also signify lupus.
  • Fingers, Toes, Tip of the Nose:  If your fingers turn white or blue with exposure to cold or during stressful situations, it can be caused by a constricting of the small blood vessels in those areas.  This is called Raynaud’s phenomenon, a condition closely associated with lupus.
  • Stomach & Digestion:  Lupus can cause or exacerbate ulcerative colitis, pancreatitis, and liver conditions, resulting in nausea, vomiting, recurring and persistent abdominal pain, bladder infections, and blood in urine.
  • Legs, Joints, and Feet:  Persistent joint pain and swelling is a common lupus symptom. Legs and feet may also swell.
  • Fatigue and unexplained fevers

About.com, has a great, short, informational video featuring the Chairman of Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Dr. Bob Lahita. This video provides clear and concise information that will help to give an understanding of what could be some symptoms of lupus. He also gives some fantastic advice by recommending that the patient write down all symptoms being experienced before heading in to a doctor for diagnosis. 
If you develop an unexplained rash, are having ongoing fever along with persistent aching or fatigue, write these, and any other accompanying symptoms down and seek a medical professional like a rheumatologist. Please see the related links below.
We have a great tool on our website where you are able to scroll over the body part that is giving you trouble and it clarifies how that could be related to lupus.   http://mollysfund.org/resources/possible-lupus-symptoms/

Molly's Fund Fighting Lupus has a great referral network that we working on making even more robust. Please find it here:

 http://www.mollysfund.org/resources/referral-network/

American College of Rheumatology’s Directory to find a rheumatologist in your area: 
http://www.rheumatology.org/directory/geo.asp

Fortunately because of the hard work we are doing here at Molly’s Fund Fighting Lupus, along with the efforts of other lupus organizations and research institutes, awareness is being brought to this debilitating disease.  We are making strides in the understanding of lupus, which is leading to quicker diagnosis, the development of better treatments and medications, and ultimately getting steps closer to our goal of a cure.
You can help us spread the word!  To learn more, stay up to date,  and be a part of our online community; find us on Twitter, follow us on Pinterest, like us on Facebook,  join us on Google+ and let’s keep this conversation going. Here are some quick links to find us:

 https://twitter.com/MollysFund
http://pinterest.com/mollysfund/
https://www.facebook.com/mollysfund



 


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