Lupus is an autoimmune disease affecting 1.5 million Americans. It is an inflammatory disease and occurs when your immune system attacks its own tissues. A lupus diagnosis is important because it can increase your risk for heart disease, osteoporosis and kidney diseases occurring earlier. However, lupus can be difficult to detect because the signs and symptoms may not always be clear.
Knowing if you have lupus is critical because it allows you to manage this disease better and also be proactive in your treatment. It also helps you to decrease how the disease progresses and the severity of the disease. The signs of lupus may vary from person to person.
Here are five facts which will help you to have a better understanding of lupus.
1. Women are at a greater risk. Women tend to suffer from lupus in greater numbers than men. More than 90% of lupus sufferers are women, and it impacts women primarily between the ages of 15 – 44 years of age. Women of color are also more affected by this disease versus Caucasians. They are often likely to be diagnosed at 2-3 times greater rate.
2. Lupus can have many symptoms. The more prevalent symptoms of lupus include:
- Painful or swollen joints
- Low blood count
- Painless sores in the mouth or nose
- A rash which is apparent on the face, cheeks, or across the bridge of the nose
- Fingertips/toes becoming pale or purple from cold or due to stress
- Chest pain with breathing
- Fever which goes on for days at a time
- Hair loss
- Protein in the urine
- Extreme fatigue
- Sun sensitivity
- Hair loss
- Memory loss