Did you know that October is Lupus Awareness Month in the United Kingdom? Since Lupus has affected my family personally, I take every opportunity I can to increase awareness of this mysterious disease. Many people struggle daily with this debilitating disease and there are many misconceptions about lupus. Let’s clarify a few things about Lupus.
What Exactly Is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease. There are more than 80 autoimmune diseases, such as Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis, and correct diagnosis can be stressful for both you and your doctor as many have very similar and oftentimes over lapping symptoms. The patient might also have more than one autoimmune disease at a time. However, the prevalent symptom of most autoimmune diseases is inflammation. However, ridding the body of inflammation is not always easy. Symptoms also can come in flares with autoimmune diseases. One day the person might feel fine. The next, the person might be very ill. This can sometimes be very difficult for caregivers and loved ones to understand. Just because the person might look fine does not mean they feel fine.
Common Signs and Symptoms Of Lupus
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, the following are signs and symptoms of lupus…
- Extreme fatigue (tiredness)
- Painful or swollen joints
- Anemia (low numbers of red blood cells or hemoglobin, or low total blood volume)
- Swelling (edema) in feet, legs, hands, and/or around eyes
- Pain in chest on deep breathing (pleurisy)
- Butterfly-shaped rash across cheeks and nose
- Sun- or light-sensitivity (photosensitivity)
- Hair loss
- Abnormal blood clotting
- Fingers turning white and/or blue when cold (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
- Mouth or nose ulcers
It is important to remember, however, that not all people experience all symptoms. Lupus is often referred to as the “great imitator” because it’s symptoms are pretty common in many other diseases as well. Thus, Lupus can be quite difficult to diagnose properly.