Due to the unpredictable nature of lupus, it can be hard to determine if you have actually this illness because symptoms can be just one, or a combination. However, there are several commonalities found in lupus patients, such as:1
• Low-grade fever
• Joint stiffness in the morning
• Extreme fatigue
• Anemia (low red blood cell count)
• Sensitivity to light
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain
If you experience one or any combination of these symptoms, it's best to consult immediately with an experienced medical professional.
Types of Lupus Rashes
A unique symptom of lupus is the outbreak of skin rashes, and you can determine the type of lupus you have just by looking at the said rashes. If you suddenly develop any of the following, seek immediate medical advice immediately:2
• Disc-like rashes: if you spot circular rashes on your facial area such as the forehead or cheeks, you may have discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE). The rashes may be not itchy but it has long-lasting effects such as scarring and hair loss once it subsides.
• Papulosquamous and annular rashes: papulosquamous rashes are similar to psoriasis rashes, while annular rashes are ring-shaped and form scales around the edges. If you spot either rash on your skin, you may have subacute cutaneous lupus.
• Butterfly rashes: if you notice large spots of rashes that resemble a butterfly on your cheeks, it is possible you have acute cutaneous lupus.
Lupus May Lead to Depression
Lupus may also lead to clinical depression, and statistics show that it is actually present in almost a third of patients with lupus. Clinical depression isn't a sadness that’s temporarily experienced, but rather a prolonged feeling of melancholy that cannot be shaken off.
Researchers aren't sure how clinical depression develops, but the Lupus Foundation of America suggests that it may be because of how lupus affects your immune system. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may need to consult with a doctor right away for proper treatment, such as healthy eating habits, exercise and support from loved ones:3
• General sadness
• Feeling of helplessness
• Lack of energy
• Change in appetite
• Inability to concentrate
• Decreased interest in activities
Lupus Can Also Cause Digestive Problems
The Johns Hopkins Lupus Center notes that lupus can affect your digestive tract, with problems such as heartburn caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Lupus medications may also cause digestive issues, such as peptic ulcers, which is why these drugs are not highly recommended. Instead, you should treat your digestive tract naturally by eating small, healthy meals, remaining upright after eating and scaling down caffeine consumption to promote rapid digestive recovery.4
Lupus Can Affect Your Thyroid as Well
Your thyroid gland plays an important role in helping regulate hormones connected to bodily functions, such as your metabolism, heart rate, nervous system and body weight. Needless to say, this small gland located in the base of your throat is important for a healthy body. When lupus strikes however, this gland can cause problems in the form of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is defined as an underactive thyroid, and its symptoms include fatigue, weight loss and moodiness. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism means you have an overactive thyroid, and may have symptoms such as weight loss, heart palpitations and possible osteoporosis. It's important to have your thyroid gland checked during a lupus diagnosis to receive proper treatment.5