The most important thing to know about Lupus is that, if you have the disease, you are not alone. Thousands of people in Georgia suffer from Lupus, which is a chronic autoimmune disease that may cause disabling and life threatening challenges to the individual with the disease. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system turns against parts of the body instead of protecting it.
Lupus is often characterized by periods of illness and remissions. The disease can cause widespread inflammation and tissue damage affecting many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain. Although people with the disease may have many different symptoms, some of the most common ones are extreme fatigue, painful or swollen joints (arthritis), unexplained fever, skin rashes, and kidney problems.
Diagnosing lupus is a very difficult task because there is no simple test that can confirm lupus. Therefore, it is important to be patient and explore options when consulting a physician about Lupus.
Currently, there is no cure for Lupus, but it can be effectively treated with medications. So, the good news is that most people with Lupus can live active, healthy lives.
Signs and Symptoms of Lupus
Lupus has many symptoms. Symptoms may come and go. The times when a person is having symptoms are called flares, which can range from mild to severe. New symptoms may appear at any time. Some of the more common ones include:
· Pain or swelling in joints
· Muscle pain
· Fever with no known cause
· Red rashes, most often on the face (also called the “butterfly rash”)
· Chest pain when taking a deep breath
· Hair loss
· Pale or purple fingers or toes
· Sensitivity to the sun
· Swelling in legs or around eyes
· Mouth ulcers
· Swollen glands
· Feeling very tired
Want more information?
Since it is important for you to know the warning signs and symptoms of lupus, the Lupus Foundation of America developed a very useful checklist of lupus signs and symptoms – “Could You Have Lupus” Checklist, which you can access by clicking here. You can complete this simple checklist online to help you recognize the symptoms and risk factors for lupus. Answer each question in terms of your current and past health status. If you have had symptoms like these, especially if you have had several, talk to your doctor about lupus. After completing the symptom checklist you will have the option to print out a report with your answers to take with you to your doctor. The checklist is only meant to help you recognize the signs and symptoms of lupus, and as a guide for you and your doctor to discuss your possible risk for developing lupus.
To learn more about lupus, such as symptoms, causes, and forms of the disease, visit our Impact of Lupus
page and Resources page. You can also find information on what we have learned from the GOAL Study through "The Voices of GOAL" Newsletter, which is a publication produced by GOAL.
Photos by 3D4 Medical (joints) and Interactive Medical Media, LLC (face rash)