- Symptoms will vary from person to person. Some people incur symptoms suddenly, others more gradually. Symptoms may be mild for some, severe for others. Symptoms may include fatigue, weight loss or gain, fever, mouth sores, a rash shaped like a butterfly, shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, bruising easily, memory loss and chest pain.
- Joint pain, swelling and stiffness normally accompany lupus. The joints affected will depend on where the disease is located in your body, or you may have joint pain over your entire body. You will notice stiffness in your joints such as your knees, elbows and wrists. Swelling and pain will begin, and walking or picking up objects may become difficult. This swelling and joint pain can lead to arthritis.
- Diagnosing lupus is a difficult task and may take months or years to finally confirm diagnosis. Symptoms can mimic other diseases, and symptoms may come and go, making it difficult to nail down what the cause is. Your doctor may consider lupus if you have at least four of these criteria: a butterfly rash that covers your nose and spreads across the cheeks, a scaly or sun-related rash, painless mouth sores and joint pain in more than two joints. Other factors are seizures, kidney problems, low blood counts and blood tests confirming an autoimmune disease.
Joint Pain Treatment
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil and Motrin will be recommended by your doctor for joint pain and stiffness. These drugs are over the counter, but discuss with your doctor proper dosage. Anti-malaria drugs, such as Plaquenil have been shown to help with joint pain, rash and lung inflammation. Corticosteroids will also fight joint inflammation but have serious side effects such as weight gain, bone thinning, high blood pressure and diabetes.
- People with advanced lupus may need a more aggressive treatment such as high-dose corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs such as Imuran and Cytoxan. These drugs work to suppress the immune system by blocking the production of immune cells that attack the organs and tissues.
Lupus can erupt in flares, so it's best to try and prevent them from happening. Get adequate rest and avoid the sun, which can trigger a flare. Wear hats and long sleeves and pants when out in the sun. Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Staying healthy is your best prevention against lupus flare ups.