Table of contents:
- Online Symptom Test
- How to confirm the diagnosis
- Who is most at risk for lupus
- How the treatment is done
The main symptoms of lupus are:
- Pain, swelling or stiffness in one or more joints;
- Muscle stiffness or lack of flexibility;
- Red spots on the skin, especially on the face in the shape of a butterfly wing;
- Fever above 37.5ºC;
- Excessive fatigue;
- Skin lesions that appear after sun exposure;
- Painful sores in the corner of the mouth or inside the nose;
- Chest pain when breathing deeply;
- Difficulty breathing;
- Episodes of seizures with no apparent cause;
- Hair loss;
- Sensitivity to light;
- Confusion, headache or memory problems;
- Decreased amount of urine or foamy urine;
- General malaise.
Symptoms of lupus can affect any organ or part of the body and can vary according to the stage of the disease, and appear intensely for a few days or weeks, and then disappear again, but there are also cases in which the symptoms remain always, constantly.
If any of these symptoms appear, it is important to consult a general practitioner or a rheumatologist so that tests are carried out to identify if it really is lupus and start the most appropriate treatment.
Online Symptom Test
To know your chances of having lupus, select the symptoms you may be experiencing in the test below:
- 1.Red spot in the shape of butterfly wings on the face, over the nose and cheekbones? Yes No
- 2.Several red patches on the skin that flake off and heal, leaving a scar slightly lower than the skin? Yes No
- 3.Skin blemishes that appear after exposure to sunlight? Yes No
- 4.Small painful sores in your mouth or inside your nose? Yes No
- 5.Pain or swelling in one or more joints? Yes No
- 6.Episodes of seizures or mental changes with no apparent cause? Yes No
Make an appointment with a specialist
How to confirm the diagnosis
To confirm the diagnosis of lupus, the rheumatologist may recommend performing some blood and urine tests, in addition to evaluating the signs and symptoms presented.
The main recommended exams are blood count and ANA exam, which is a useful exam to diagnose autoimmune diseases. Learn more about the FAN exam.
The main exam changes that may be indicative of lupus are:
- Excess protein in several urine tests in a row;
- Decrease in the number of erythrocytes, or red blood cells, in the blood test;
- Leukocytes with a value lower than 4,000/mL in the blood test;
- Decreased number of platelets in at least 2 blood tests;
- Lymphocytes with a value lower than 1,500/mL in the blood test;
- Presence of anti-native DNA or anti-Sm antibody in the blood test;
- Presence of higher than normal anti-nuclear antibodies in the blood test.
In addition, the doctor may also order other diagnostic tests such as chest X-ray or kidney biopsy, to identify if there are inflammatory lesions in the organs, which may be caused by lupus.
Who is most at risk for lupus
Lupus is mainly caused by genetic factors that lead the immune system to produce antibodies that attack he althy cells in the body, causing inflammation in various organs.
It is not yet fully understood who can develop this disease, however, it seems to be more frequent in people who have some risk factors, such as:
- Family history of lupus;
- Prolonged exposure to the sun;
- Viral infections;
- Common hormonal changes in adolescence, pregnancy or menopause;
- Use of antihypertensive drugs, antibiotics or anticonvulsants.
Although these factors appear to increase the risk of developing lupus, this does not mean that a person will necessarily have lupus at some point in their lives. Therefore, whenever there are symptoms suggestive of the disease, it is important to consult a general practitioner or rheumatologist.
How the treatment is done
Treatment of lupus should be done under the guidance of a rheumatologist who may indicate the use of drugs such as anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids or immunosuppressants, with the aim of relieving symptoms and decreasing the action of the immune system. Check out all lupus treatment options.
In addition, it is also important to eat an anti-inflammatory diet to prevent the onset of symptoms and even reduce their intensity.