Jun 07 , 2023
Life with a Lupus diagnosis can be exhausting and frustrating. This chronic autoimmune disease can cause a range of symptoms and, in the most severe cases, can lead to death from things like kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. Lupus can be managed though, and for many, symptoms will improve over time and may even disappear completely.
In honor of Lupus Awareness Month this past May, we’re shedding light on many of the symptoms and prognosis for one of the most common autoimmune conditions.
What is Lupus?
Lupus, like other autoimmune diseases, occurs when the body’s own immune system attacks healthy tissue. This causes inflammation in the body and, in the case of Lupus, can affect multiple organ systems including the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, joints, skin and blood. One of the most distinct symptoms of Lupus is a symmetrical rash that occurs across the face, stretching from the nose down through the cheeks.
What Causes Lupus?
As with many autoimmune diseases, the true cause of Lupus is unknown. However, there are certain risk factors that increase someone’s chance of having it, such as genetics and environmental factors, as well as certain triggers that have been identified, such as exposure to sunlight, taking certain medications, getting an infection, or not getting enough rest.
There are a broad range of symptoms that affect people with Lupus, both mild and severe. These symptoms can persist chronically or temporarily appear during a flare up. The most common recognized symptoms are:
- Symmetrical rash on the face stretching from the nose down the cheeks
- Dry eyes
- Stiffness, swelling and pain in the joints
- Skin lesions
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Memory loss
Getting a Lupus Diagnosis
While no easy test exists for determining a Lupus diagnosis, doctors can look at a range of other measures to determine if Lupus is the cause of your suffering. An antinuclear antibody (ANA) test is one measure that can be a high indicator for Lupus if the test is positive for antibodies in the blood. Biopsies, urine tests, and complete family history are also important factors that are taken into consideration when determining an accurate diagnosis.
What Can You Do?
Medications and treatment to alleviate symptoms are available for people suffering from Lupus, but it is also possible to prevent or minimize a flare up by identifying what your specific triggers are and avoiding them, or seeking treatment if you believe a flare up may be coming.
When relying on over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor or thoroughly research each product. There have been cases of certain medications causing infections in users, which can pose an even greater risk to those with Lupus, as was the case with certain brands of eye drops used to treat dry eyes, a common symptom in Lupus patients.
How ID30 Can Help
A Lupus diagnosis can be upsetting, but with the right treatment, most people are able to manage their symptoms and live a full and fulfilled life. As with all autoimmune diseases, a Lupus diagnosis may increase your risk of other autoimmune conditions and may mean that your close family also has a predisposition to autoimmune disease. A full ID30 test offers the most comprehensive panel of autoimmune markers to find out exactly what is going on inside your body - and it only requires one simple blood test. Reach out to us if you have any questions or want to learn more about autoimmune disease testing.