These are common to many autoimmune diseases: joint pain, anemia caused by disruption of the bone marrow which produces red blood cells, chest pain, fevers and debilitating fatigue. What causes these symptoms? First, it needs to be known that not every rash is a tell-tale sign of lupus, nor is every instance of chest pain caused by lupus.
Here are some symptoms you may see, however:
- Extreme fatigue
- Purple or cold fingertips and toes
- Sun sensitivity
- Hair loss, mainly on the scalp
- Low blood count
- Red rash or color change on the face, across the cheek or bridge of nose
- Unexplained fever for several days
- Chest pain
- Protein in the urine
- Painful or swollen joints
- Oral or nose sores
- Depression, trouble thinking, and/or memory problems or other cognitive problems
In the same token, not every symptom named above is noted in every one of us. We each have a case of lupus that is individual, unique-but somehow, I don’t feel lucky!
What follows, is a partial list of symptoms and some of the reasons that you might develop them. Keep in mind that lupus is a disease of the immune system and inflammatory in nature.
Many people with lupus also have Sjogren’s syndrome, and the two conditions together can cause a dry mouth that can become so severe that the delicate tissue in the mouth ulcerate> mouth sores. Medications to treat lupus can also be quite drying.
Anemia might be caused by a folic acid deficiency or a vitamin B-12 deficiency and there is discussion that anemia results from antibodies against components of the blood.
Hair loss, or alopecia, may be caused in part from exposure to the sun.
Vasculitis literally really refers to an inflammation of the blood vessels. This inflammation causes leaking of blood from the vessels (which happens often near the ankles) to the tissues. Often what we see are discolorations in the skin, called petechiae.
These are just a few of the symptoms that present with lupus, but during the course of their disease, not every symptom is present and some not mentioned ARE present.
The debilitating fatigue which can be from lupus is often caused by coexisting anemia. This isn’t always the case, but sometime a partial explanation.