Lupus is not a very well-known disease. “When people say “lupus,” they usually mean systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common and serious type. But there are other types. Cutaneous lupus erythematosus — also called discoid lupus — is limited to the skin and doesn’t cause the organ damage that sometimes occurs with SLE. The most common symptom is a circular rash. Drug-induced systemic lupus causes temporary lupus symptoms in people who take certain medications.”
Lupus and kidney disease
As the disease progresses lupus can bring about kidney disease. This will occur in as much as three out of four lupus patients. Some lupus sufferers will notice swelling in the legs and ankles while others may not show any symptoms at all. Often time kidney problems are only noticed when they show up on a blood test.
Lupus and heart problems
WebMD advises, “The most common heart problem linked to lupus is an inflammation of the sac around the heart. This may cause severe pain in the left side of the chest. People with lupus are also more likely to develop plaques that narrow or clog the arteries. This can lead to coronary artery disease. Other complications include heart valve disease and inflammation of the heart muscle. Call 911 immediately for chest pain, rather than trying figure out the cause yourself.”
Lupus and the lungs
About a third of the people with lupus will experience inflamed tissue around the lungs which results in painful breathing and chest pain. However, sometimes there are no symptoms at all. On the other hand, pain can result from an inflamed rib or muscle and is not related to the heart or lungs or other organs. However, it should be noted that any chest pain should be a reason to seek out the advice from a doctor.
Lupus and the brain and nervous system
Lupus can cause a host of symptoms such as mild memory loss, headaches, and in several cases stroke and seizures.
“Diagnosing lupus can be tricky. The disease can mimic other conditions, and it often takes a different course in different people. Many people have it for years before developing tell-tale symptoms. Although there is no one test for lupus, certain proteins usually show up in a patient’s blood. A blood test for antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) can provide a critical clue. Other lab tests may check cell counts, kidney function, and clotting time. A tissue biopsy of an involved organ such as the skin or kidneys sometimes helps with diagnosis.”