What is Lupus?

I didn’t really know much about Lupus until my sister was diagnosed with it several years ago, and after she battled with symptoms. So when she was told by doctors after a year of struggling with many issues, I decided I needed to educate myself on the disease. Did you know that 9 out of 10 people with Lupus are women? That was crazy for me to find out. Read on to learn more about what Lupus is, warning signs and symptoms, and potential treatment.no

This weeks’ Healthy Tip Tuesday is brought to you in partnership with Trinity Hospital Twin City.

Understanding Lupus

The CDC defines Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects many different parts of the body. An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks itself because it cannot tell the difference between healthy tissue and foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. Lupus symptoms can show up in many different ways and are often mistaken for symptoms of other diseases. This is why it can be hard to diagnose and is often called “the great imitator.”

Since Lupus can act like so many other health issues it is important to be able to encompass them all together and rule out other health concerns while watching for Lupus.

Potential Signs and Symptoms:
  • Fatigue or extreme exhaustion no matter how much they sleep
  • Muscle and joint pain or swelling
  • Skin rashes (in particular a butterfly-shaped face rash across the cheeks and nose)
  • Fever
  • Hair loss
  • Recurring mouth sores
Less likely symptoms:
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Lung problems
  • Chest pain when deep breathing
  • Fingers or toes turning blue or white or feeling numb
  • Heart problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Psychosis (disruptive thoughts and perceptions about what is or is not real)
  • Blood cell and immunological abnormalities (anemia or clotting problems)
  • Eye diseases
  • Memory problems

There are several things that are important to note when we talk about Lupus. This disease has “flare-ups”, which simply means sometimes one can have symptoms, and the next day something can trigger them. Lupus is diagnosed and treated by a rheumatologist since joint damage is the number one issue associated with Lupus.

Treatment Options:

There is no single medication that will treat Lupus. A doctor can prescribe a variety of medications to treat the symptoms when they flare up. A person can do a variety of routine things to attempt to keep their Lupus under control.

I decided to share about my sister’s diagnosis in hopes that it will help shed a light for someone else struggling to find what may be going on with their own health.

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