Recently, the actress and singer Selena Gomez had to receive a kidney transplant. Her best friend, Francia Raisa, donated the kidney. Selena Gomez needed a kidney transplant because she has lupus, and this disease had destroyed her kidney. What exactly is lupus? How can the average person spot the early warning signs of lupus before it causes medical problems such as this?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation throughout the body. Autoimmune disease means that the body’s immune system attacks the body’s own tissues. Lupus is notorious for being very hard to diagnose, because each person who has it can have a very different set of symptoms. The early signs of lupus generally start in early adulthood. Being educated about the symptoms of this disorder can help people who have it receive the proper treatment early on, so that dangerous complications such as loss of a kidney do not occur.
The exact cause of lupus is unknown. Experts believe it may be a combination of genetics, environment, and hormones. Women are 9 times more likely to have lupus than men. African Americans are 3 to 4 times more likely to have lupus than Caucasians.
1. Digestive problems.
- People with lupus often suffer from problems of the digestive system. This includes mild problems like heartburn and acid reflux.
2. Dry mouth and eyes.
- Sometimes, lupus can cause another autoimmune disorder known as Sjogren’s disease. People who have developed this disease often suffer from dryness of the eyes and mouth.
- Up to 90% of people who have lupus have fatigue as a symptom. This tiredness might also come with dizziness, trouble concentrating, or headache.
- Fever caused by lupus is usually a low fever, with no other apparent cause.
5. Hair loss.
- The hair of people with lupus may become thinner, or it may fall out in clumps. Hair also usually becomes brittle and unhealthy-looking.
6. Kidney problems.
- Specifically, lupus can cause a kidney condition known as nephritis. Symptoms of nephritis include blood in the urine, dark urine, frequent urination, high blood pressure, pain in the side, and swelling in the lower legs and feet.
7. Lung problems.
- Some people with lupus have lung and breathing problems like shortness of breath and pain when breathing in.
- About half of people who have lupus have a very characteristic rash. The rash is a butterfly-shaped red rash that spreads over the cheeks and the bridge of the nose. Lupus can also make skin sensitive to sunlight.
9. Swollen joints.
- Swollen joints are frequently accompanied by pain and stiffness. This lupus symptom is usually worse in the morning.
10. Thyroid problems.
- Lupus can cause both under-active and over-active thyroid.
1.4 million people in the United States alone have lupus. When lupus is not treated properly, severe complications can happen. These may include blood problems, blood vessel problems, high-risk pregnancy, infections, kidney problems, lung problems, miscarriage, nervous system problems, tissue death, and trouble conceiving.
These complications can be extremely dangerous or even fatal. Although there is no way to cure lupus, there are ways to control the disease. Everyone should watch out for the early warning signs of lupus.