Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems, including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. It’s very difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments.
The most distinctive sign of lupus, a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks occurs in many but not all cases of lupus. Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain drugs, or even sunlight. While there’s no cure for lupus, treatments can help control symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Lupus
- Joint pain, swelling.
- A butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose or rashes elsewhere on the body.
- Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure.
- Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods.
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest pain.
- Dry eyes.
- Headaches, confusion, and memory loss.
Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many areas of your body, including your:
- Kidneys. It’s cause serious kidney damage, and kidney failure is one of the leading causes of death among people with lupus.
- Brain and central nervous system. Headaches, dizziness, behavior changes, vision problems, and even strokes or seizures. Many people experience memory problems and may have difficulty expressing their thoughts.
- Blood and blood vessels. It leads to blood problems, including anemia and an increased risk of bleeding or blood clotting. It can also cause inflammation of the blood vessels.
- Lungs. Increases your chances of developing an inflammation of the chest cavity lining (pleurisy), which can make breathing painful. Bleeding into the lungs and pneumonia also are possible.
- Heart. The risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks increases greatly as well.