Lupus is an autoimmune disease. This means it causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy tissue. This can lead to inflammation and damage to many parts of the body, including:
- blood vessels
There is no cure for lupus. But you can use medications treat symptoms and prevent flares. Also, you can make lifestyle changes to keep the disease in check, for example:
- Stop smoking
- Use sun protection
- Eat a healthy diet
- Keep active
- Avoid stress
- Get enough sleep and rest
Here are eight common health problems related to lupus.
1. Skin Problems
Some of the most common skin problems related to lupus include:
- A butterfly-shaped rash on your nose and cheeks
- Red, scaly patches on various parts of the body
- Discoid lupus lesions, usually on the body or scalp
- Sores or ulcers in the mouth or nose
- Hair loss, also called alopecia
- Fingers or toes turn red, white, blue or purple in cold weather, called Raynaud’s phenomenon
Up to 70% of people with lupus are sensitive to light. This is known as photosensitivity– skin rashes get worse by exposure to sunlight or UV light.
To avoid these problems, you can protect your skin from the sun. Apply corticosteroid creams, gels, ointments, or injections. Take care of your hair and scalp.
2. Muscle and Joint Problems
Joint pain or muscle pain is common in lupus. It makes up 90 percent of all lupus cases, and is known as lupus arthritis.
Lupus arthritis can occur in the small joints of the hands and wrists. The large joints, such as knees and hips can also be affected by lupus. Symptoms include:
- Stiffness, pain, warmth, tenderness, and swelling in the joints
- Muscle pain and aches
- Tingling, pain or numbness in the fingers
- Weakness and loss of strength
Some medications used to treat lupus can cause bone loss. And osteoporosis can occur as a result of this disease.
3. Lung Problems
Lupus can also affect the respiratory system. This puts you at a higher risk of developing a number of lung problems, such as:
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
- Inflammation of lung tissue (pneumonitis)
- Diffuse interstitial lung disease
- A blood clot blocks the flow of blood from the heart to the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
4. Heart Problems
A lot of heart diseases have been found to be related to lupus. They are considered the leading causes of death in lupus. Half of people with lupus will develop some of the following problems at some point in their illness:
- High blood pressure
- Inflammation of the fibrous sac around the heart (Pericarditis)
- Endocarditis, which can lead to infection or stroke
- Inflammation of the heart muscle (Myocarditis)
5. Brain Problems
About half of all people with lupus will develop brain problems at some point. These problems may include:
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
If the brain problems linked to lupus do not improve after taking medicines, tell your doctor.
6. Kidney Problems
Lupus nephritis is a common type of lupus that can affect the kidneys. According to researchers, 1 in 3 people with lupus may develop this disease at some time. Symptoms include:
- High blood pressure
- Blood in urine
- Swelling in the feet, legs, ankles and hands
- Weight gain
If untreated, lupus nephritis can lead to kidney failure and become fatal. So you need to discuss with your doctor about prescription medications.
7. Blood Problems
Many people with lupus develop blood problems. These include:
- Blood clots in veins or arteries
- Inflammation in the blood vessels (vasculitis)
- Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
- Low white blood cell count (leukopenia and neutropenia)
Children with lupus are most at risk for developing blood related problems. Pregnant women with blood problems linked to lupus are at an increased risk of miscarriage.
8. Other Health Problems
People with lupus may also have a number of other health problems:
- Swelling of the lymph glands, and discomfort
- Pain in the abdomen
- Infections, such as herpes, shingles, yeast infections and UTIs
- Red eyes or eyesight changes
If you have lupus, consult a doctor for appropriate treatment. Currently, one of the most common treatment options for lupus is LupuFree. It can help to relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of a flare. Doctors suggest taking two capsules of LupuFree daily until the symptoms disappear. It can take one to three months, depending on each patient.