One of the worst human experiences is receiving a serious medical diagnosis. This is even more difficult when the condition has no cure and can result in life-threatening complications, such as lupus.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes your body’s immune system to attack its own tissue, joints, and organs. As a result, the patient suffers inflammation in different parts of their body.
What causes Lupus?
The cause of lupus is unknown. People who already have the condition typically experience worsened skin rashes if exposed to sunlight.
A family history of the illness may increase the likelihood of developing lupus. The disease is more common in women since high estrogen levels are sometimes a culprit for the condition. Lupus is more likely to occur in Native Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans.
Early Signs and Symptoms of Lupus
Lupus symptoms vary from person to person and can affect different parts of the body. They can also range from mild to severe. The most common symptoms of lupus include:
- Chest pain
- Joint pain
- Shortness of breath
- Dry eyes
- Skin rashes
- Skin lesions
- Blood in urine
Lupus can cause organ damage and, left untreated, can be life-threatening. One of the most dangerous complications includes damage to the brain and central nervous system. This can result in stroke, seizures, or behavioral problems.
Other common complications include:
- Kidney failure
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Blood clots
In addition, people with lupus often experience joint pain. This can be due to several reasons:
1. Lupus Myositis
Myositis is inflammation of the muscles. It tends to affect large muscle groups, resulting in shoulder, neck, back pain, or hip pain. The condition can make regular activities, such as switching positions while sleeping, painful. While there is no cure for myositis, there are treatment options and lifestyle changes to alleviate pain. Some of these include anti-inflammatory medication, physical exercises as instructed by your doctor, and improving nutrition.
2. Lupus Tendonitis
Lupus can also cause tendonitis. Tendons are fibrous tissue that connects muscles to the bones. When they become inflamed, a person will experience a limited range of motion of the joints.
3. Lupus Arthritis
Arthritis is one of the most common symptoms of lupus. Joints get so irritated, that the person experiences pain, stiffness, and swelling, and their range of motion is restricted. The symptoms tend to be symmetrical in most patients, including pain in the hand and finger joints. What makes it different from other types of arthritis is that the person can feel the pain all day long.
4. Lupus Osteoporosis
People with lupus have an increased likelihood of losing bone density. This is because not only does lupus attack a person’s immune system, but glucocorticoid (which is a medication often prescribed to lupus patients) can also trigger bone loss.
Osteonecrosis is a bone disease that’s the result of poor blood supply to the bones. Without adequate blood flow, the bone tissue dies. As a result, the person experiences severe bone pain, particularly in the shoulders, hips, and knees.
How is Lupus diagnosed?
If you’re experiencing lupus symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. To diagnose lupus, a medical provider will order blood tests, antibody testing, and a urinalysis. Your doctor may also take a biopsy to check for organ damage.
Since there is no cure for lupus, to control the disease, treatment often includes anti-inflammatory medications and immunosuppressive drugs.
Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies for Lupus
Wear high SPF sunscreen. Since UV rays can worsen skin rashes related to lupus, wear 55+ SPF and cover limbs with long sleeves and long pants. Wear a hat, and avoid extended sun exposure.
Eat healthily. Opt for whole foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks and snacks.
Exercise. Regular physical activity will promote bone density, muscle strength, and cardiovascular health; all of which can help ease symptoms of lupus.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol doesn’t mix well with lupus medications. Therefore, if you’ve been diagnosed, avoid alcohol consumption.
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you believe you are having musculoskeletal pain related to lupus, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.