Lupus is an autoimmune disease which affects the body’s natural defense system, more precisely the immune system. Lupus attacks healthy tissues instead of dealing only with dangerous things like bacteria and viruses. This process causes inflammation in the entire body.
Due to the fact that lupus can affect so many different organs, a wide range of symptoms can occur. Most symptoms come and go, and different symptoms can appear at different times during the course of the disease. Lupus symptoms are highly correlated to those parts of the body and organs that are affected and to their severity, as well.
It is very difficult to diagnose lupus since many of these symptoms occur in other illnesses. In fact, lupus is sometimes called “the great imitator” because its symptoms are often like the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, blood disorders, fibromyalgia, diabetes, thyroid problems, Lyme disease, and a number of heart, lung, muscle, and bone diseases.
Signs, Symptoms, and Co-occurring Conditions of Lupus
Fever is a sign of infection of inflammation and people with lupus tend to have high grade temperatures because of their immune system which basically crashes when the disease reaches a severe point. It is very important to take precautions and monitor your temperature.
Many lupus patients experience joint stiffness, especially in the morning. People often find that taking warm showers helps to relieve this problem. Also, over-the-counter pain treatments and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, can ease the symptoms and release the pressure from your joints.
Increased lupus activity can sometimes cause weight loss, and certain medications can cause loss of appetite. Many people lack the desire of eating food because of their treatment therefore it is imperative to talk to a specialist that can suggest alternative medications or solutions to ease stomach discomfort.
While some people with lupus experience a weight loss problem, others gain weight. This happens because of their medications, based on corticosteroids. A balanced diet and moderate calorie consumption may do the trick and also some light to medium exercise can help people to maintain a healthy weight and cardiovascular system, while also boosting their mood. In addition, maintaining a healthy weight helps to alleviate stress joint and keeps the entire organs working productively and efficiently.
Fatigue and Malaise
A great deal of people that suffer from lupus experience general fatigue and malaise at dome points during their course of disease. This can be prevented by having healthy lifestyle, getting enough sleep and eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Also, a key factor is to try staying as active and mobile as possible during the daily routine.
Depression and anxiety are present in almost one third of all people with lupus. It might be triggered by the lack of sleep, tiredness and appetite problems but also due to induced steroid medications. It is important to determine is depression has a cause to lupus or not and treat it accordingly.
Many people with lupus suffer from gastrointestinal problems, especially heartburn caused by gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Peptic ulcers can also occur, often due to certain medications used in lupus treatment, including NSAIDs and steroids. Although antacids are effective it is advisable to eat smaller means, to remain upright after eating and to reduce the amount of caffeine.
The thyroid is a gland located in the neck associated with the metabolism and the processes by which people’s body makes use of energy. Lupus damages the immune system therefore it can develop an autoimmune thyroid disease, as well.
A thyroid gland that is functioning improperly can affect the function of organs such as the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, and skin. Hypothyroidism can cause weight gain, fatigue, depression, moodiness, and dry hair and skin. Hyperthyroidism can cause weight loss, heart palpitations, tremors, heat intolerance, and eventually lead to osteoporosis. Hypothyroidism is usually treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy while hyperthyroidism can only be cured with anti-thyroid medications or radioactive iodine.