Since the signs and symptoms of lupus are common with other diseases, it will be difficult to diagnose. lupus is more common in women aged 15 to 44 or in reproductive age.
Statistics show that 161,000 to 322,000 Americans have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In women between the ages of 15 and 44, 9 out of 10 people are diagnosed with lupus.
The most characteristic symptom of lupus (a facial rash that looks like butterfly wings spread across both cheeks) happens in many, but not all, cases of lupus.
Some women are born with a tendency to develop lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain medications, or even sunlight.
But the good news is that by identifying its early symptoms in women and following the available treatments, you will be able to control the symptoms well.
Therefore, If you suspect you have lupus, don’t worry. In this article, we will introduce the most accurate early signs of lupus and the methods of its diagnosis to control symptoms.
Lupus symptoms in women usually appear in early adulthood. Therefore, anyone who is in their teens to early thirties can get this disease.
Lupus symptoms appear quickly in many people, especially in women, and improve after a while, so the symptoms of lupus are usually easily ignored.
It is important to note that since the initial symptoms of this disease are also seen in other diseases, their occurrence in the body does not mean that a person is suffering from lupus.
Related: “Types Of Lopus/ Key Differences to Know“
90% of women with lupus report feeling too tired to their doctor, which may be confused with fatigue caused by iron deficiency, which is also more common in women.
Some women choose a short nap in the evening to relieve their fatigue, but sleeping too much in the evening eventually leads to insomnia at night.
If a woman is active during the day and does his daily activities correctly, she can put her body’s energy level at the right level.
Of course, achieving this goal is not so easy, and one must work hard to achieve this goal.
If the woman feels too tired, it is better to consult her doctor. Some factors that cause excessive fatigue are easily treatable.
Another symptom of lupus that appears in the early stages is a mild fever without a clear cause.
A woman usually has a fever between 36.9°C and 38.3°C, and since she has a mild fever, she does not feel the need to see a doctor. Women with lupus regularly experience this type of fever.
Mild fever can be a sign of inflammation or infection. If a female regularly has a mild fever, she should see her doctor as soon as possible.
Related: “What Is The Easiest Way To Treat A Fever?“
Thin back hair is usually one of the symptoms of lupus that can be seen in the early stages of this disease.
Hair loss is caused by inflammation of the scalp. Some women with lupus lose their hair in a large volume and size, and the severity of hair loss in other people will be slow.
In addition to head hair, eyebrow hair, beard hair, body hair, and eyelashes can also fall out in women with lupus. On the other hand, girls with lupus will experience a problem called lupus hair, in which the hair will be more fragile than normal.
If lupus is treated, new hair will eventually grow to replace the lost hair, but if a skin lesion develops on the person’s head, the lost hair will likely not grow back.
One of the most obvious symptoms of lupus is skin rashes that appear in the shape of a butterfly on the nasal septum and both cheeks.
About 50% of women with lupus experience these skin rashes on their body surface.
These rashes can appear suddenly or when exposed to the sun ( Especially women are fond of sunbathing ). Sometimes, these rashes appear before the severity of other symptoms of lupus.
On the other hand, lupus causes lesions in other parts of the body that do not cause itching.
In rare cases, lupus can cause hives. Many females with lupus are very sensitive to sunlight and even artificial light. In some cases, the tips of the fingers and toes of affected people will be discolored.
Pulmonary inflammation is one of the other symptoms of lupus. The lungs are inflamed, and the swelling caused by this inflammation spreads even to the pulmonary veins; even in some women, this inflammation involves the diaphragm.
All these problems will cause a lot of pain in the chest when breathing. This complication is called pleuritic chest pain.
Over time, breathing problems caused by lupus will lead to a decrease in lung volume. Constant chest pains and shortness of breath are among the symptoms of this problem.
The muscles forming the diaphragm become very weak and will be seen higher than normal in the CT scan images.
A female with lupus will suffer from a special type of kidney inflammation called nephritis.
This inflammation does not allow the kidneys to easily filter excess and toxic substances from the blood. Usually 5 years after the onset of lupus, a woman will develop nephritis.
Early symptoms may not be noticeable, so it is important that the kidneys are carefully monitored after a girl or woman develops lupus. If nephritis is not treated, it will eventually lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Inflammation can cause pain, dryness, numbness, and swelling of the joints, especially in the morning.
This problem is mild at first and gradually gets worse. If the usual painkillers are not effective in this case, the person should see a doctor. The doctor checks whether this joint pain occurred as a result of lupus or is caused by arthritis.
Some over-the-counter antacids are used to treat mild symptoms of lupus.
If the sufferer complains of intermittent heartburn and acid reflux, he is advised to reduce his food intake and avoid caffeinated beverages. On the other hand, one should not lie down immediately after eating. If these symptoms persist, the person should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Autoimmune thyroid disease is a common complication in women with lupus. The thyroid is responsible for controlling the body’s metabolism.
If the thyroid does not do its job properly, the important and vital organs of the body, such as the brain, heart, kidney, and liver, cannot do their job properly. On the other hand, thyroid problems can cause weight loss and gain, dry skin and hair, and mood changes.
If a woman has lupus, they have probably experienced this well-known symptom of the disease. This is because many people with lupus also suffer from Sjogren’s disease – an autoimmune disease.
In Sjogren’s syndrome, lacrimal glands and salivary glands lose their proper function, and lymphocytes accumulate in these glands. Some women with lupus and Sjögren’s syndrome also complain of dry skin and genital area.
The inflammation caused by lupus can cause kidney failure and damage to the kidneys, memory disorders, anemia, bleeding or inflammation of the vessels, lung diseases, and heart diseases.
Also, having lupus increases the risk of infection, cancer, and pregnancy problems, so if the disease is not controlled and treated and progresses, there is a possibility of death due to the above complications.
Does lupus show up in blood work?
Since the initial symptoms of lupus can be similar to other diseases and have a late onset, and these symptoms may be different in different people, the clinical diagnosis of this disease is a challenge.
Investigations indicate that the amount of some antibodies changes during this disease, therefore, laboratory diagnostic tests are one of the most important methods of investigating this disease, among which the following can be mentioned:
Researchers are still investigating the possible causes of lupus ( Especially in women because of its prevalence ) by looking at the early symptoms. We know that lupus is not a contagious disease. Genes play an important role in the disease, but they are not the only cause of lupus.
Even a person who has one or more genes related to lupus has a small chance of getting this disease. The treatment of lupus disease is different depending on the type of symptoms and signs.
A very important point is that you should prevent it from becoming critical and other serious problems by identifying its early symptoms and taking quick action.
Dr. Majid Zohrabi started treating his patients in Dubai in 2022 and continues his activities in private medical centers in the UAE.