These are the 7 early warning signs of lupus you should watch out for

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system, your body's defence system, produces antibodies that attack the body's own tissues, causing inflammation.

These are the 7 early warning signs of lupus you should watch out for [Credit: Aus Med]

Lupus can affect many different parts of the body, and when internal organs such as the heart, lungs, brain or kidneys are involved it can be much more serious. But most people will only have one or a few of the possible symptoms, and many people will find that the symptoms come and go.

Here are 7 early symptoms that can indicate the onset of lupus!

Roughly 90 percent of people with lupus experience some level of fatigue. An afternoon nap does the trick for some people, but sleeping too much during the day can lead to insomnia at night. It may be difficult, but if you can remain active and stick to a daily routine, you may be able to keep your energy levels up.

One of the early symptoms of lupus is a low-grade fever for no apparent reason. People with lupus may experience a unusually high fever off and on.

A low-grade fever could be a symptom of inflammation, infection, or imminent flare-up. If you have recurrent, low-grade fevers, make an appointment to see your doctor.

One of the most visible symptoms of lupus is a butterfly-shaped rash that appears over the bridge of the nose and on both cheeks. Roughly half of lupus sufferers have this rash. It can occur suddenly or appear after exposure to sunlight. Sometimes the rash appears just before a flare-up.

Lupus can also cause non-itchy lesions in other areas of the body. Rarely, lupus can cause hives. Many people with lupus are sensitive to the sun, or even to artificial lighting. Some experience discoloration in the fingers and toes.

Inflammation can cause pain, stiffness, and visible swelling in your joints, particularly in the morning. It may be mild at first and gradually become more obvious. Like other symptoms of lupus, joint problems can come and go.

Your doctor must determine if your joint problems are caused by lupus or another condition, such as arthritis.

Some people with lupus experience occasional heartburn, acid reflux or other gastrointestinal problems. Mild symptoms can be treated with mild antacids. If you have frequent bouts of acid reflux or heartburn, try cutting down on the size of your meals, and avoid beverages containing caffeine. Also, don’t lie down right after a meal. If symptoms continue, see your doctor to rule out other conditions.

It’s not uncommon for people with lupus to develop autoimmune thyroid disease. The thyroid helps control your body’s metabolism. A poorly functioning thyroid can affect vital organs like your brain, heart, kidneys, and liver.

It can also result in weight gain or weight loss. Other symptoms include dry skin and hair, and moodiness.

If you have lupus, you may experience dry mouth. Your eyes may feel gritty and dry, too. That’s because some people with lupus develop Sjogren's disease, another autoimmune disorder. Sjogren’s causes the glands responsible for tears and saliva to malfunction, and lymphocytes can accumulate in the glands. In some cases, women with lupus and Sjogren’s may also experience dryness of the vagina and skin.

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