Lupus can cause blood problems like anemia, which result in low energy levels, and this overall feeling of exhaustion can come from any of the many things going on inside your body—having unhealthy kidneys or lungs or a heart can leave you exhausted. "It's often in the frontal region, and sometimes can cause embarrassing baldness" because of how drastic it is, Buyon says.
While generally feeling unwell or like something is "off" is common among those who are ultimately diagnosed with lupus, the specific signs and symptoms of the disease are plentiful. "There are dominant features," Buyon notes—symptoms that are very characteristic of the disease and can help doctors recognize what's going on.
Its symptoms also vary immensely from person to person. "The main message is that my lupus may be different from your lupus," Buyon says. "We could have 333 people in a room and none of them have the same presentation until the 334th person walks in," she explains.
This also makes it easy to confused with rheumatoid arthritis. "The textbook difference between lupus and rheumatoid arthritis is that lupus can affect joints on one side and not the other, whereas RA usually affects both sides equally," Buyon explains.
If you think you may have it, see your doctor to talk about your concerns ASAP. "Joint pains and joint swelling and stiffness in the morning," are all classic signs of lupus, Buyon says.
Lupus can also attack the brain. "It can affect the brain, no question, you can have seizures, disorientation, become psychotic, and experience memory loss," Buyon says.
In a sense, that makes it quite unique to all human diseases," Jill Buyon, M. D. , director of the Lupus Center at NYU Langone Medical Center, tells SELF.
Lupus can also affect both the inside of the lungs and the outside lining. "Some people say it hurts when they take a deep breath—that’s fluid around the lungs. " If your chest is bothering you when you breathe, that's a red flag.
Unspecific symptoms, such as fever and lymph node swelling, can occur because of lupus, but fail to signal the disease to doctors in the absence of other telltale signs.
It’s also very hard to diagnose because the effects are broad-ranging and often look like any number of other conditions. "Lupus can affect almost any part of the body.
Number 3 is a serious red flag 😳 https://t.co/UiQ4bXHA3r— Glamour (@glamourmag) May 31, 2019
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