8 early signs and symptoms of lupus

Lupus is an inflammatory autoimmune health condition wherein one’s immune system attacks healthy tissues and body organs. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), lupus caused due to some prescription medicines, and neonatal lupus are the types of this condition. Although the exact cause of lupus is unclear, the cell-death theory, proposing that such inflammation is a normal cell-renewal process, is a widely accepted explanation. Taking the necessary steps to heal from lupus begins with identifying its early signs:

Butterfly-shaped rashes
A butterfly-shaped rash that spreads across the face, typically covering the cheeks and the bridge of the nose, is a common symptom of lupus. Such rashes are often the result of exposure to UV rays and the consequent adverse reaction of immune-related cells in the body.

Lung problems
Pleuritis, pulmonary hypertension, “shrinking lung” syndrome, lupus pneumonitis, and acute lupus pneumonitis are the major lung problems due to lupus. Such lung issues are caused due to inflammation of the outer lining of the lungs, which worsens pain. Shortness of breath often results from such lung ailments.

Swelling of joints
Lupus can also lead to joint inflammation, causing acute joint pain, swelling, and stiffness in areas like the shoulders, neck, thighs, and arms. It also tends to affect joints in the body’s periphery, such as fingers, knees, ankles, and toes.

Individuals with lupus are often affected by fever exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which results from inflammation. People with lupus also typically experience bouts of low-grade fever at the outset.

Individuals with lupus and thyroid problems share a common immunological etiology; hence, patients with lupus may also experience symptoms of hypothyroidism. Thyroid nodules are typically common among patients with SLE.

Gastrointestinal issues
Sometimes, lupus can affect one’s digestive process, triggering gastrointestinal problems like vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation. Such digestive issues result from attacks on the immune system.

Kidney problems
When lupus is caused by attacks on the kidney, affecting its structures and hampering the process of waste excretion, the condition is classified as lupus nephritis. Kidney inflammation may reflect in the form of blood in the urine and high blood pressure and may culminate in kidney failure if left untreated.

Fingers and toes turning blue
The narrowing of blood vessels due to lupus can cause fingers and toes to turn pale and then blue, or sometimes purple or red. This condition, called the Raynaud phenomenon, is a common symptom of lupus.