More than five million individuals worldwide have lupus. According to The National Resource Center on Lupus, approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus; over 16,000 people in the U.S. alone develop lupus every year. It affects virtually all your organs, and its symptoms tend to come and go sporadically but are generally the same for both females and males.
Some of the most common early symptoms of lupus include the following:
- Significantly painful joints – Among the most devastating effects of having lupus is joint weakness and pain. Studies state that over 90% of people with lupus would experience these symptoms.
- Severe fatigue – This typically affects multiple muscles and joints, and this kind of fatigue doesn’t get better even with ample rest and sleep.
- Headaches – These usually come with fatigue and nausea.
- Extreme sensitivity to light – This includes both indoor lights and sunlight. It could also trigger a pounding headache very quickly.
- Fever – Among the earliest lupus signs is fever between 98.5oF and 101oF. This is typically a sign of flare-up, infection, or inflammation, which is the body’s way of fighting off the condition, explains Dr. Olga Kromo.
- Hair loss – This results from scalp and skin inflammation. Although some might lose their hair in clumps, others would lose their hair gradually.
- Discoloration in your fingers – This is a result of poor blood circulation in your toes and fingers.
- Rash – The lupus rash is distinct in that it develops in your face and is shaped like a butterfly. It also spreads onto your cheeks and your nose bridge, like sunburn.
- Swelling – Inflammation in your entire body could impact virtually all tissues, muscles, and organs, leading to swelling in multiple body parts.
- Chest pain – This could be due to blood vessels, diaphragm, and lung inflammation. You might also find yourself having difficulty breathing.
It’s also crucial to note that lupus could be quite hard to diagnose since its symptoms are usually similar to the symptoms of many different illnesses. Additionally, no two lupus cases are the same. If you notice the signs, consult a rheumatologist as early as possible to determine if you have lupus or not.