Lupus or systemic lupus erythematosus is a disease of chronic inflammation that can affect any part of your body including the joints, the skin, the hair, the heart, the brain and the kidneys. Lupus is an autoimmune disease which means that instead of your immune system fighting the germs, the bacteria, the viruses of the outside world, your immune system turns against you, it begins to attack your own organs. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder. How do you get lupus? the precise cause of lupus is not known but we do know that it’s a combination of genetic, hormonal and environmental factors, if you have lupus then it is likely that you have a relative with lupus, 1.5 million americans have lupus and lupus is more common among blacks, hispanics and asians than in caucasians. Lupus is also more common among women than in men and it is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 44, that being said if you are a man, you still could have the diagnosis of lupus so what are the symptoms of lupus? now this is a tricky question since lupus can literally affect any part of the body, the symptoms can be vast and nonspecific, lupus can literally cause pain, inflammation, swelling and damage to any organ, system symptoms can be mild or they can be severe in life-threatening cases, symptoms can wax and wane, they can come and go, however most people with the diagnosis of lupus do experience the following generalised symptoms at some point during the course of the disease.
Symptom number one, fatigue, this is the most common generalized symptom of lupus and it can be quite debilitating. Imagine having very low or no energy, it can make it difficult to take on daily tasks of living or difficult to hold down a job to go to school so fatigue is a symptom of lupus, another symptom, unintentional weight changes, so patients with the diagnosis of lupus can have an unintentional weight loss or an unintentional weight gain, the weight gain often happens when the kidneys are involved with lupus, patients will hold on to excess salt in water which will make them put on weight, weight gain can also happen as a result of treatment especially if lupus patients are being treated with steroids which tend to cause you to gain weight. Fever is the third generalized symptom that most patients with lupus will experience, the other symptoms of lupus really depend on which organs are being affected at that time. Lupus patients can also lose patches of hair due to alopecia skin changes, most patients will experience skin changes due to lupus during the course of the disease, the butterfly rash or the malar rash is the most common skin change, it occurs when there is a reddish rash on the cheeks and on the nose of patients which usually occurs after sun exposure.