The Early Symptoms And Signs Of Lupus
Lupus is a poorly understood auto-immune disorder, not in the least because of its complexity. The early symptoms and signs of lupus can appear in any part of the body, and they can be indicative of many other disorders as well. How people experience the symptoms can vary from barely noticeable to life threatening.
Generally, when people speak of lupus, they mean systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE, which is what this article is about. Other types include subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus, and discoid lupus erythematosus. Lastly, there is drug induced lupus, which is a side effect of medications.
Understanding the Early Symptoms and Signs of Lupus:
The signs and symptoms of SLE can vary greatly between patients. Some have mild discomforts, whereas others are severely affected. Even with mild symptoms, however, SLE usually goes through flare ups, during which time the symptoms are generally more severe.
The three main early symptoms and signs of lupus, which remain present for life, are:
1. Extreme tiredness and fatigue
2. Swelling and pain in the joints
3. Rashes, mostly on the hands, wrists, and face
Fatigue is incredibly common. People with lupus often get enough sleep, but still struggle to stay awake. Sometimes, they become exhausted by performing a regular task. This fatigue can be incredibly disruptive and distressing, having a significant negative impact on overall quality of life.
Joint pain and swelling in the feet and hands is also common. This usually happens in only one joint at a time, but it travels from one to the other. The worst pain is usually in the morning. SLE does not generally cause permanent joint damage or deformities.
Skin rashes are also very common. The "malar" or "butterfly" rash is often seen. This covers the bridge of the nose and the cheeks. Usually, they get better quite rapidly, but in some cases they last for a long time and some people have them permanently. The rash can be painful and/or itchy, and it often worsens when exposed to sunlight.
Other Lupus Symptoms:
SLE can also cause many other symptoms. It is unlikely, however, that someone suffers from all of these symptoms at the same time. Many people with SLE only experience the three symptoms mentioned above, in fact. Other possible symptoms include:
1. High temperature
2. Swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the groin, armpits, and neck
3. Regular mouth ulcers
4. Alopecia (hair loss)
5. Hypertension (high blood pressure)
6. Migraines and headaches
7. Abdominal (stomach) pain
9. Chest pain
10. Memory loss
11. Dry eyes
12. Fits (seizures)
13. Psychosis, whereby it becomes impossible to differentiate between reality and imagination
14. Shortness of breath
15. Raynaud's phenomenon, which means the feet and hands don't get enough blood when it is cold
16. Edema (fluid retention) in the ankle
If you believe that you have SLE, because you have persistent symptoms or they affect your quality of life, you should seek medical advice. It is likely that you don't have lupus, but it is always best to rule it out.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.