Lupus is an autoimmune disease that attacks healthy body tissue. A unique condition, lupus has earned the nickname “the disease of 1,000 faces” due to its complexity, including the wide range of symptoms.
Statistics show that lupus affects up to 1.5 million people in the United States, with about 16,000 new cases reported each year. Lupus may affect the entire body (systemic lupus erythematosus) or only the skin (discoid lupus erythematosus), and it can also be drug-induced or neonatal.
Lupus can cause a variety of symptoms that people might attribute to something else or brush off entirely, especially if the symptoms aren’t severe. For example, the hallmark of lupus is skin irritation, but someone might disregard lupus-induced skin rashes as allergies.
Kimberley Shine, MD, of Shine Health and Wellness in Pasadena, California, is an expert at helping patients with autoimmune conditions manage their symptoms, including those with lupus. The first step to managing lupus symptoms is identifying the common signs, which you can read about below.
Signs and symptoms of lupus
There are several types of lupus, but many people with the condition experience the same symptoms. Common signs of lupus include:
- Skin irritation, such as hives, redness, and swelling
- Painful, swollen joints
- Muscle aches and stiffness
- Hair loss
- Fever without a known cause
- Chronic fatigue
- Photosensitivity (sensitivity to light, especially the sun)
- Pale or discolored fingers and toes
- Mouth ulcers
If you have any combination of the above symptoms, it’s important to seek medical care right away, as untreated lupus can cause complications. When lupus is severe, it can lead to violent flare-ups and organ damage.
Unfortunately, there’s no known cure for lupus. Treating this autoimmune disease is all about managing symptoms, much like treating digestive disorders or allergies. Part of the reason why lupus can’t be cured is that scientists and doctors aren’t sure of the cause or causes behind lupus.
When you see Dr. Shine, she’ll give you a thorough examination. If she determines that you have lupus, she’ll develop a treatment plan that will best help you fight the condition. She may recommend lifestyle changes, medications, and other methods to help you keep lupus symptoms under control.
To learn more about lupus and get on the path to better health, book an appointment online or over the phone with Shine Health and Wellness today.