Lupus is an autoimmune disease affecting nearly 1.5 million Americans each year. It occurs when the immune system attacks its body’s own organs. Anyone can develop lupus although some people are born with a tendency to develop the disease which can be triggered by infection, some drugs, and even sunlight.
There is no cure for lupus, but treatment is available to help control symptoms. It’s best to start treatment at the first sign of lupus. But, what is the first sign of lupus? Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because many symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, joint or muscle pain and stiffness, and fever, mimic those of other conditions. To help distinguish lupus from other conditions, the American College of Rheumatology laid out 11 symptoms that point to the autoimmune disease. You must display at least four of the 11 symptoms for a lupus diagnosis.
- A butterfly-shaped rash across both sides of the face.
- Raised, red skin patches
- Sensitivity to light
- Ulcers in the mouth or nose
- Arthritis plus swelling or tenderness in two or more joints
- Seizures or other nervous system problems
- Excessive protein in urine
- Inflammation in the lining of the heart or lungs
- Low blood cell counts
- The presence of certain antibodies in the blood
- ANA test results indicating the presence of too many antinuclear antibodies
If you think you or someone you know is displaying at least four of these symptoms, it’s time to talk to a medical provider about your concerns. Your primary care provider can examine you and your health history and refer you to a rheumatology specialist for further diagnosis. If you have already received a lupus diagnosis and would like to manage your treatment closer to home, we’ve got good news. EliteCare can not only discuss pre-diagnosis concerns and give a referral to a rheumatology expert, but we can also help you manage your treatment if you receive confirmation of the disease. Dial 662-348-3342 to learn more and request an appointment.