Lupus is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks various tissues and organs of the body. The illness can be difficult to diagnose because there are multiple potential symptoms of lupus and they can mimic the signs of other health problems. At Swetech Medical Center in Clinton Township, we want to know if you suspect something isn’t right. We will help you reach the right diagnosis, whether that is lupus or another autoimmune condition.
The word lupus is Latin for “wolf.” A 13th-century physician used the word lupus to describe facial lesions reminiscent of a wolf’s bite, and this autoimmune condition still is known for its characteristic rashes. But that’s not all.
There are many potential symptoms, and not everyone who suffers from this condition will exhibit all the symptoms, nor will all the symptoms a person is going to have occur all at the same time. Lupus is a complicated diagnosis and your doctor will look at many factors to reach a conclusion. You can easily remember the symptoms with a mnemonic device: DOPAMINE RASH. If you have four or more of these symptoms at any given time, lupus is likely present.
- D – Discoid rash. Blotchy rashes that look like discs.
- O – Oral ulcers. Unexplained lesions and sores in the mouth.
- P – Photosensitivity. Sensitivity to the sun.
- A – Arthritis. Another autoimmune condition and often the source of unexplained aches and pains. When you have one autoimmune condition you are predisposed to another.
- M – Malar rash. A butterfly-shaped rash on the face, often a key feature of lupus.
- I – Immunologic phenomenon. Antibody testing that breaks down what’s going on.
- N – Neurologic symptoms. Headaches, seizures, strokes.
- E – Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). Levels show the body is overreactive in the immune department.
- R – Renal changes. Severe forms of lupus can damage the kidneys.
- A – ANA positive. Anyone with lupus tests positive for antinuclear antibodies, a sign that your immune system has begun to attack your own tissues. Some people have a positive ANA test even when healthy.
- S – Serositis. Chest pain and difficulty breathing caused by lupus’s affect on the lining around the heart and lungs.
- H – Hematologic abnormalities. Low counts of red and white blood cells or platelets.
Living with Lupus
Lupus tends to define itself early. If you have a few of the typical symptoms, these are likely to be the symptoms you maintain throughout your life. Lupus can, however, become more severe in other ways because it interferes with the rest of the immune system and wreaks havocs on the body as a whole. Often the most damaging side effect of lupus is kidney disease. Many people end up hospitalized needing treatment for renal complications without proper, ongoing care.
Most sufferers need a rheumatologist on hand but at Swetech Medical Center, we care for many patients with lupus and aid them in managing the disease overall. Our team helps patients adjust their lifestyle to beat flare-ups and manage the health condition daily and especially when out of remission.
Maintaining wellness under the umbrella of an autoimmune condition is about understanding the disease you have, learning how to manage it, and finding ways to structure your life so you can be healthy inside and out. Your body may be fighting itself, but at Swetech Medical Center in Clinton Township, MI, our team is ready to help you win and regain control over your body and life.
If you are not feeling well, suspect that something isn’t quite right, contact us to schedule a consultation and get a diagnosis as soon as possible.