Lupus and our Bodies
Lupus and our Bodies
May is our lupus awareness, so I decided to talk about the symptoms once again, as I am in the middle of a painful flare myself. First of all, a flare can happen anytime and may not have an identified trigger, which is very frustrating. That means I can take my meds, eat healthy, exercise, and take time for rest, but I still feel the symptoms as a tsunami. That’s where I am now.
Lupus is a type of autoimmune disease, which means the body’s immune system attack healthy tissues and organs instead of only striking foreign substances that could harm our body. The condition causes widespread damage to areas of the body, including the joints, skin, heart, blood vessels, brain, kidneys, bones, and lungs.
Researchers don’t know what causes lupus, but genetics play a role, and it’s also much more common in women. There are several different kinds of lupus, each with slightly different triggers and symptoms, such as:
Hair loss: hair breakage and hair loss often happen toward the front of the forehead but can also occur in patches.
Headaches: headaches, dizziness, and mood changes may occur related to lupus inflammation blocking oxygen to parts of the brain over time or local inflammation.
Sjogren’s: Sjogren’s Syndrome is common in people with lupus and makes the mouth and eyes feel extremely dry. It can cause complications, like trouble swallowing and cavities.
Mouth sores: ores in the inner cheek and lower mouth, along with dryness, can result in gum disease.
Difficulty swallowing: difficulty swallowing is caused by Sjogren’s, which makes the mouth feel super dry, and affects the swallowing muscle.
Gland swelling: swelling of glands could mean inflammation from a lupus flare, a sign of infection, or lymphoma.
Chest pain: chest pain could be a sign of a heart attack, blocked arteries near the heart, or inflammation in or around the lungs.
Trouble breathing: difficulty breathing can result from fluid buildup around the lungs, pneumonia, or scarring within the lungs.
Heart disease: inflammation of the blood vessels is likely a sign that you’re at high risk of developing heart disease or experiencing complications in the area where the vessels are inflamed.
Pancreatitis: pancreatitis can be triggered by lupus inflammation or by medications used to manage it. Treatment will depend on what caused your pancreatitis.
Kidney problems: fluid buildup in the abdomen could be a sign of kidney problems.
Kidney disease: long-term inflammation and can eventually lead to kidney damage or failure.
Digestion issues: medications for lupus symptoms may compromise the ability to move waste at a normal pace.
Intestinal ulcers: lower intestine ulcers might develop as a side effect of medications used to manage lupus symptoms.
Pregnancy complications: pregnancy in women with lupus is considered high risk and needs to be closely supervised by a doctor.
Joint pain: Joint pain and stiffness may come from lupus arthritis, affecting primarily small joints.
Tiredness: fatigue, often severe, can be an overall symptom of lupus, or it could mean there’s another health issue, like heart, kidney, or liver problems.
Skin sensitivity: butterfly-shaped rash and skin sensitivity triggered by sun exposure or ultraviolet light.
While lupus may cause symptoms throughout the body, it doesn’t mean everyone experience all of these.
Symptoms and severity depend on the type of lupus, among other factors. These include your genetics and how long you’ve had the disease. If your lupus is well-controlled, you may have very mild symptoms.
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