Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), commonly known as simply lupus, is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues and organs. Triggers for lupus flare-ups include sunlight, infections, and some drugs. Lupus symptoms mimic those of other diseases, so it can be difficult to get a diagnosis, which, in turn, makes it more difficult for patients to start treatment.
However, there are a few common lupus symptoms you can watch out for:
Lupus patients commonly suffer from painful tension headaches and migraines that don’t go away after taking over-the-counter medication. This symptom can impact every aspect of a lupus patient’s life. In addition to the constant pain, they often become sensitive to light and noise, further reducing their ability to perform most normal activities.
2. Pain or swelling of joints
Pain or swelling of the joints is often an early symptom of lupus and one of the main symptoms that most patients will experience. The pain and swelling often move from one joint to another, but patients often have joint pain in their feet or hands. While lupus is unlikely to cause permanent damage to your joints, it can cause serious joint problems. A lupus patient will often have difficulty doing normal activities, such as walking, due to this symptom.
3. Swelling around the eyes
Lupus can damage the structure of the eyes, causing inflammation of the nerves and blood vessels. Due to this, a lupus patient may experience swelling around the eyes. This is a dangerous symptom, as it can result in vision loss.
4. Chest pain When deep breathing
A lupus patient may experience chest pain when deep breathing. This is a condition known as pleurisy, which occurs due to the inflammation of the pleura. The pleura is a sac that surrounds the lungs. Due to this symptom, lupus patients will often experience shortness of breath or feel pain when they stretch their back or shoulders.
5. Extreme fatigue
Many people with lupus identify extreme fatigue as one of their primary symptoms. Many factors can lead to severe fatigue, including sleep disturbances, an anxiety disorder, a low level of exercise, and disease activity. Fatigue can seriously impact a patient’s quality of life, reducing their ability to function either at work and at home.
6. Low fever
Fever is the body’s way of fighting off foreign organisms and infections. However, lupus can trigger inflammation responses that cause an unneeded, recurring low-grade fever, which is a fever below 101 degrees Fahrenheit. This symptom can go on for a few days or weeks. Even though low-grade fever is not life-threatening, it can be an exhausting symptom for a lupus patient to handle.
As noted above, lupus symptoms are also common symptoms of many other diseases and conditions. This makes it easy to brush off the signs, which can lead to the illness worsening. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to visit your doctor for a diagnosis.