Lupus Doesn’t Affect Everyone the Same Way, but These Are the 9 Most Common Symptoms

Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that is currently affecting an estimated 1.5 million people in the United States alone. Although people from all backgrounds have been diagnosed, more than 90% of lupus patients are women, with many of them coming from African, Asian, or Native American descent. It can come on at any age but it is most commonly seen when girls mature to a childbearing age, around 14 or 15.

So, what does lupus do that is so damaging? The disease transforms a healthy immune system into one that, for lack of a better word, “attacks” its own body. Overall, lupus can compromise a range of different body systems, such as the joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and even the lungs.

It’s a scary, chronic condition, but it’s also one that can be managed most efficiently when it is properly diagnosed. Lupus comes with a range of symptoms that, when considered holistically, can be the first indicators that something might be very wrong in the body.

Here are 9 of the most common symptoms found in Lupus patients. If any of these ring true for you, it’s definitely time to make an appointment with your trusted doctor!

  1. Kidney problems

    One of the more dangerous hallmarks of lupus is kidney problems, or even kidney failure. Just last year, singer Selena Gomez went public with her lupus struggles. Her battle was so intense, her survival depended on a kidney transplant from her best friend!

  2. Butterfly rash

    A facial rash that takes shape in the form of a red, blotchy “butterfly” is another common symptom seen in lupus patients. This occurs when blood vessels become compromised during flare-ups.

  3. Chest pain

    As we mentioned, the lungs and heart also take a beating during lupus flare-ups. This damage can make itself known through chest pains and even breathing difficulties.

  4. Dry eyes

    This symptom can make your eyes feel particularly dry and gritty, and can, over time, cause redness. Dry eyes also typical in a host of other autoimmune diseases, such as Sjorgens.

  5. Skin lesions made worse in the sun

    Unfortunately, the sun is one of the worst things for a lupus patient. Not only can sunlight trigger a lupus flare-up, it can also cause skin lesions that might further worsen a person’s photosensitivity.

  6. White or blue fingers or toes

    This phenomenon is called Raynaud’s, and it is most commonly seen in lupus patients who are either cold or under a lot of stress. Discolored fingers and toes can be attributed to a weak cardiovascular system that has been compromised by the disease.

  7. Joint pain

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    One of the first things that many lupus patients notice is a pain in the joints that mimic the usual symptoms of arthritis. This can be a particularly jarring feeling, considering many lupus patients are diagnosed in their 20s and 30s— much younger than typical arthritis patients!

  8. Headaches

    Chronic headaches are yet another painful lupus symptom. Many patients complain of getting severe headaches several times a week!

  9. Fatigue

    Because lupus, effectively, attacks the immune system, patients are left feeling constantly fatigued by their body’s imbalance.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on these lupus symptoms. Have you been diagnosed with the disease? If so, do you experience these symptoms often? Do you have any advice for folks who have recently been diagnosed with lupus?

Source: The Mayo Clinic