The job of your immune system is ordinarily to wander through your body looking for any signs of invading viruses or bacteria so that they can be stopped before they do serious harm. Sometimes, however, a person’s immune system will become confused and begin to perceive the tissues in her own body as potential invaders that need to be stopped.
One of the ways in which this can happen results in a disease formally known as systemic lupus erythematosus. Though it can potentially affect anyone, its symptoms usually appear in women.
Because it is an action of the patient’s own immune system, many of the symptoms of lupus disease are similar to those that people experience when they have a genuine infection. This includes developing a fever, having aching joints, and feeling persistently fatigued.
These are only signs of this disease, however, when they occur for no readily apparent reason. It is perfectly normal and absolutely no cause for panic when a person feels this way during a flu epidemic.
On the other hand, a person who shows symptoms of an infection regularly without it clearly being tied to an actual infection should definitely talk to a doctor.
There are other lupus symptoms that are more specific to this particular illness. One especially notable one is a characteristic lupus rash that patients often develop.
It is also not uncommon for people to develop rashes in other areas of their body, and for these rashes to occur or worsen in areas of skin that have been exposed to sunlight.
There are other symptoms of lupus which may occur in some patients and are more varied in nature. For example, some people experience hair loss or changes in their fingernails.
Others develop painful sores around their mouth and nose. It is not uncommon to become generally sensitive to sunlight, though for some people with the disease this is also related to the effects of the medications used to control their disease rather than due to the illness itself.
Lupus Symptoms overlap heavily with many other diseases, and this makes it exceptionally difficult to diagnose. In its early stages, due to the aches, fever, and fatigue, it can often be mistaken for chronic fatigue syndrome or arthritis.
On the other end of the spectrum, people can also easily mistake it for harmless passing infections. If symptoms persist, though, and rest and fluids do not clear them up, it is very important to see a physician.
The obvious symptoms of this disease are generally more uncomfortable than harmful, but it also has internal effects as well. Left untreated, it can do significant damage to critical organs like the kidneys.
The right treatment, however, can allow a person to live much more normally and comfortably, even though the illness can not be completely cured.