It is estimated that around 1.5 million of Americans have lupus and according to the Lupus Foundation of America, 9 out of 10 are women. Today, we are going to talk a little about this autoimmune disease including symptoms, prevention and treatment.
It is a disease that when can be described with one word – unpredictable.
Lupus doesn’t target any specific age or race groups, it attacks unexpectedly and unpredictably. It has a wide range of symptoms that vary in severity with different age groups and may change over a person’s lifespan.
Mallory Dixon, a patient, was initially diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 17 but she experienced symptoms that were unusual for arthritis of that type.
Some doctors even suggested that she needs to see a therapist.
Eventually, 6 years after the initial diagnosis, one doctor reviewed her symptoms and medical history and diagnosed lupus. Still, two years after she was diagnosed, she wasn’t feeling any better. She had a feeling that something was terribly wrong with her, so she picked herself up and headed straight to the hospital. As she explained, she was afraid to go to sleep as she was in a lot of pain. She tried to downplay it but had a feeling she was dying.
Tragically, she was dying. On the way to the hospital, she “technically” died and was brought back to life. Consequently, she stayed in the hospital for 86 days. She fell into a coma, received chemotherapy, spent time on a ventilator and was treated with dialysis. Later, it was found that the disease has moved onto the kidney and they were “shutting down”.
It was stated that in Dixon’s case, early prevention could have kept the lupus from spreading to organs like the kidney or in some cases to the patient’s heart or brain. That’s why people need to be informed about the symptoms and should know what to look for.
According to Sarah Stothers, a nurse that works at the Lupus Foundation of America, the most common sign of lupus is “debilitating fatigue”. Other symptoms include:
- Extreme tiredness
- Hair loss
- Abnormal blood clotting
- Painful or swollen joints
- Nose or mouth ulcers
- Swelling in the feet, hands or legs
- Pain in chest when breathing deeply
- Fingers turning white and/or blue when cold
- A butterfly-shaped rash, spread across the cheeks and nose.(The disease got its name from this rash as it reminded physicians of a wolf’s bite in earlier times, hence the name “lupus”, Latin for “wolf”)
As she explains, from the outside you look completely normal while you feel dreadful. You can’t even perform basic tasks and that’s frustrating.
Lupus often imitates the symptoms of other diseases and that is why it is often called “the great imitator”. It can imitate symptoms of lung, heart, bone and muscle diseases as well as diabetes, blood disorders, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, thyroid issues and rheumatoid arthritis.
Due to the fact that it can imitate these symptoms, many experts believe that this disease is linked with hormonal and autoimmune disorders.
According to Dixon, the only disease that runs in her family is psoriasis and that is another thing that baffles scientists. Namely, numerous patients that have been diagnosed with lupus, have been previously diagnosed with at least one other autoimmune disease.
This can serve as a warning to people who have a history of autoimmune diseases in their families to be on the lookout for lupus symptoms because early diagnose can ease further treatment and avoid numerous complications.
The most common autoimmune disease are psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, vitiligo, scleroderma, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, Graves’ disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, Hashimoto’s disease, pernicious anemia, inflammatory bowel disease and Addison’s disease.
All of these diseases cause the immune system to mistake the body tissues as foreign invaders, viruses or germs and attack them.
Causes of lupus
Some researchers have linked lupus with some genetic components. However, that doesn’t mean that a person is guaranteed to suffer from this disease. Other important factors are hormones and the environment. It is believed that estrogen plays a great role too since most of the patients are women. Patients are predominately diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 44. As a coincidence, that’s when women are most fertile. In fact, most of the women are diagnosed while still pregnant or right after giving birth, just when their hormones are in flux.
Still, this is notentirely definite since there are patients that have been diagnosed with lupus in their late 70s and 80s.
If you want to have a long, productive and happy live after you have been diagnosed with lupus, you need to carefully monitor the symptoms.
According to Dixon, patients often experience mild to severe flare-ups.
The bad thing is that lupus is unpredictable and you will never know when you are going to have a flare-up and whether it will be a mild one or more severe. Every patient has to figure out the triggers that lead them to flare-ups. Dixon’s triggers were stress, hard work and a common cold.
Generally, lupus patients are strong and brave according to Stothers. It is important to stay courageous and positive and keep on going. As she says, “At the end of the day, you are the one that needs to get yourself out of bed”.
Read the full original article here: 13 Early Warning Signs of Lupus You Need to Know (and what to do the moment you see them)
Sources and References:
www.medicaldaily.com — Original Article Source
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