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On the popular television medical drama “House,” week after week the team would have to diagnose some unusual disease or disorder. The first thing they always checked for was Lupus. It was never lupus.However, this family of autoimmune diseases tortures more than five million people around the world. It is incredibly hard to diagnose because so many of its symptoms mimic other diseases.
Generally, a doctor is only able to diagnoses lupus once multiple symptoms appear, coupled with a family history that includes positive diagnosis of a parent. We just found a list of common lupus symptoms that you should be aware of, especially if one of your parents has been diagnosed with the debilitating disease. But keep in mind, you should talk to a doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
First, we should clarify what lupus is. Lupus is a group of autoimmune diseases of genetic origin. People who suffer from lupus face a body at war with itself. The body’s immune system essentially turns on the body itself, going haywire and causing all kinds of nasty symptoms that can make life difficult, to say the least.
About fifty percent of all people who suffer from lupus develop a rash across their face. Called a “butterfly” rash, this symptom starts on the nose and spreads across the cheeks. It causes a reddish purple skin discoloration, and in more extreme cases can also flaking or scaling of the skin.
Lupus can also affect the circulatory system. If you experience a bluish discoloration in your fingertips, you may have developed a secondary condition known as Raynaud’s disease. In Raynaud’s patients, the blood vessels in your extremities contract and cut off blood flow to the affected fingers and toes.
Another common symptom is chronic fatigue. This is a condition wherein you experience a deep exhaustion throughout the day. This is not mere tiredness, this is an in-your-bones kind of exhaustion that can not be shaken, no matter how much rest you get. Sometimes it is accompanied by an inexplicable fever.
Along with circulatory problems like Raynaud’s, people who have lupus may also experience a swelling of the ankles and lower legs caused by water retention. This is especially the case with people who suffer from lupus nephritis. This particular version of the genetic disorder can impair kidney function. This can lead to serious kidney damage, so if you experience swelling in your lower extremities, get to a doctor right away for a proper diagnosis.
And speaking of potentially life threatening symptoms, some people with lupus may also experience chest pain or tightness, called myocarditis. Whether you have any other symptoms or not, if you experience chest pains of any kind, seek medical care immediately. It could be gall stones, it could be lupus-related myocarditis, or it could be a warning sign to a heart attack. This one is not up for negotiation. Seek help immediately.
People with lupus may also experience temporary hair loss, sores in their mouths, and severe joint pain.
Taken alone, many of these symptoms can be indications of such minor problems as the flu or yeast infections, or something far more serious like heart disease. But when they exhibit together, especially if you have a family history of the disease, you may be looking at lupus.
Do you or someone you know suffer from lupus? Share your stories with us here.
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