Approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus and nine out of ten are women, as stated by the Lupus Foundation of America. According to Mallory Dixon, this disease is very unpredictable and it is hard to describe it. Mallory describes her experience and says that it cannot be predicted and it can strike regardless of age, ethnic or racial preferences. The symptoms are different in each patient and also the lifespan.
She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when she was 17, but she had symptoms that doctors could not explain for years.
In due course, sin years after being diagnoses with arthritis, a doctor diagnosed lupus. Two years later, she had difficulty breathing and felt miserable so she went to the hospital. She said that she felt she had been dying. Unfortunately, she was. Upon her arrival at the hospital she was technically dead but they reanimated her and she stayed at hospital for 86 days. During this most agonizing period she spent time on a ventilator, fell into coma, received chemo and had dialysis treatment. Her symptoms had worsen because the lupus progressed to her kidneys and they were shutting down.
What are some of the signs?
According to Sarah Stothers, RN, debilitating fatigue is the first symptom. Here is a list of some of the most usual symptoms:
● Extreme tiredness
● Swollen or painful joints
● Swelling in the legs,feet or around the eyes
● Chest pain when taking deep breaths
● Sensitivity to light or sun
● Loss of hair
● Abnormal blood clotting
● Fingers becoming white or/and blue when cold
● Nose or mouth ulcers
● A rash across the nose and cheeks which is butterfly-shaped hey look very normal on the outside
Patients with lupus are hard to notice because they look very normal on the outside. Lupus can imitate symptoms of other diseases such as lung, heart, bone and muscle diseases, diabetes, blood disorders, Lyme disease, thyroid problems, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. The similarity of symptoms is a reason for some scientists to connect lupus to hormonal disorders and autoimmune disease.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with one of these diseases should look for lupus symptoms.
Some of the most typical autoimmune disease are reactive arthritis, IBS, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia, scleroderma, Hashimoto’s disease, celiac disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, vitiligo, Addison’s disease, Graves’ disease and type 1 diabetes.
Causes and Treatments
Lupus has a genetic component but it does not necessarily mean that if you carry the gene you will develop the disease. Hormones, estrogen in particular, and the environment play a big role. Lupus is mostly diagnoses between the age of 15 and 44 years, the most fertile period for women.
Patients with lupus usually have happy and long lives, nevertheless they have to monitor their symptoms. The hard thing with lupus is that one never knows when a bad flare-up will happen. Flare-ups can be triggered by various things like stress, working too hard or common cold.
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