Are you or a loved one suffering from a rash and joint pain? If your answer is yes, this article is for you.
Rash and joint pain can have a wide range of causes. However, people with these symptoms are usually diagnosed with lupus.
So what is lupus? How did you get it? Is it contagious? Can you die from lupus? When should you see a doctor? How can you treat and prevent it from flaring up? Read this article for more details.
Rash and Joint Pain: Lupus Could Be to Blame
Causes of Lupus
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease. It has no real known cause. However, experts believe it’s due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There are cases where lupus runs in the family, but it’s uncommon.
The immune system usually helps the body to fight viruses, bacteria and germs. In lupus, however, this system creates autoantibodies that attack the body own cells. As a result, it causes pain, inflammation and damage in the whole body.
Hormones can also contribute to the development of lupus, beyond genetics and environment.
Risk Factors for Lupus
Lupus affects 1.5 million Americans and most of them are women of childbearing age (14 to 45 years old). But, children and men can develop lupus as well. Here are certain factors that increase your chances of getting lupus.
- Gender. Women are 9 times more likely to develop lupus than men.
- Age. Lupus most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 15 and 44.
- Race and ethnicity. Lupus is 3 times more common in ethnic groups than in European backgrounds.
- Family history. If one of your family members has lupus, you’re more likely to get it, too. Your chance is around 5 to 13 percent.
- Viral infections. Many infections can contribute to the development of lupus. For instance, Epstein–Barr and hepatitis C infections.
- Hormonal changes. High levels of estrogen may put you at an increased risk of lupus. This is why many lupus patients have an increase in symptoms before menstruation and during pregnancy.
- Environmental factors. You’re more likely to develop lupus flares when you’re exposed to the sun or UV rays. Stress can also contribute to the development of lupus. It can be stress due to surgery or PTSD.
- Certain medications. Lupus has 4 different types. Drug-induced lupus is caused by certain medications such as antibiotics or sulfa drugs. When these medications are stopped, symptoms may disappear.
Symptoms of Lupus
Lupus can attack nearly every part of your body. This includes the skin, joints, brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and blood vessels. As a result, a wide range of symptoms including rash and joint pain may occur.
Skin rash can be found in 40-70 percent of people with lupus. It’s described as a butterfly rash that spreads across the cheeks and over the bridge of the nose. The rash can be flat or raised. It is usually not painful, but can itch and burn. A discoid lupus rash can also appear in anywhere of your body. It can be round, raised, red and sometimes can lead to permanent scarring.
Joint pain affects 95% of people with lupus. It is less destructive and tend to be temporary. The joints related to lupus are those of the knees, wrists and fingers. When one side of the joint is affected, the other side of the joint can be affected, too. Lupus doesn’t usually affect the joints of the shoulders, elbows and ankles.
Other symptoms of lupus include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Hair loss
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
- Sun sensitivity
- Swelling in the legs (kidney problems)
- Raynaud’s phenomenon. It is a condition where your fingers turn white or blue in cold weather.
If you are experiencing such symptoms, speak to your doctor. He or she can recommend some tests to help diagnose the condition.
Do’s and Don’ts for Lupus
- Learn about lupus
- Be open with your doctor
- Seek help and support from your family and friends
- Visit your doctor regularly
- Take medications as prescribed
- Start an exercise routine
- Let stress take over your life
- Plan your pregnancy without telling a doctor
- Forget to use sun protection when going outside
Rash and Joint Pain Prevention
Following are some tips to prevent a lupus flare:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Limit time in the sun
- Manage stress effectively
- Skip the booze
- Avoid salt, garlic and alfalfa
- Add calcium and vitamin D
- Eat foods rich in omega-3
- Stay active
- Try massage or meditation
Possible Causes of Rash and Joint Pain beyond Lupus
Your skin rashes and joint pains may result from other health conditions, such as:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Reactive Arthritis
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Gonococcal Arthritis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Rheumatic Fever
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis
- Autoimmune Hepatitis
- Human Parvovirus B19 Infection
- Celiac Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Lyme Disease
If you have rash and joint pain, check if it’s lupus. The condition generally responds to the following treatments:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs and OTC pain relievers
- Antimalarial drugs
- Immunosuppressant drugs
One of the most common dietary supplements for lupus in the market right now is LupuFree. It can help reduce inflammation and promote immune system balance. Many people have used LupuFree and got rid of symptoms within 2 to 3 months. These symptoms could be pains, aches, headache, fatigue and rash. If left untreated, lupus can become more serious and lead to death. Therefore, it’s important to speak to your doctor if you suspect lupus.