Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect the body’s organs in different ways. Women, ages 20 through 45, are more likely to get lupus. For many sufferers, it can be a mild disease. For others, lupus can be serious enough to cause life-threatening symptoms. Early diagnosis can make a big difference, so see your doctor for treatment.
Inflammation is the hallmark of lupus. Chronic joint pain and muscle pain is often one of the first symptoms.
Constant fatigue is common. An unexplained, low fever that lasts for a prolonged period is also common. When lupus “flares,” these symptoms, along with inflammation pain, may be obvious. After a “flare,” the symptoms may disappear for months.
Lupus can cause a reddish non-itching rash, often on the scalp, but on other parts of the body as well. The “butterfly rash,” when a red rash spreads across the cheeks and over the bridge of the nose, is a marker for lupus.
Lupus can also cause hair loss, hypersensitivity to sunlight, purplish fingers and toes (Raynaud’s phenomenon), and chest pain when taking deep breaths (pleurisy).
The Lupus Foundation of America sponsors a Walk for Lupus Now. Check your state's chapter to find the date and sign up.