Lupus

Overview

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system reacts to its own tissues. This can cause widespread damage to the blood vessels, muscles, joints and kidneys. This disease can occur in any age group but is most often found in Black, Asian, Hispanic and Native American women. Because symptoms are diffuse and can indicate several different illnesses, lupus is difficult to diagnose. There is no cure for the disease, however treatment and lifestyle changes can help relieve the worst symptoms and give patients a better quality of life.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Lupus has many symptoms, which can vary depending on the type of lupus. This disease causes widespread inflammation that can be characteristic of other conditions as well. Common symptoms of lupus are swelling and pain in the joints and muscles, fever, fatigue and a rash, which may appear anywhere on the body but is most commonly found on the face.

There is no single test that can detect lupus, so a complete medical history and a variety of laboratory and imaging tests are often needed. Patients are often referred to experts, and a rheumatologist will most often make the final diagnosis. Because lupus can damage the kidneys, urinalysis and biopsy of the kidney can be useful tools in its diagnosis. A doctor may perform a chest x-ray and echocardiogram to determine if there is any damage to organs.  Continue for Causes information . . .

lupus

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