HealthLupus, the silent infiltrator mimicking other diseases and delaying diagnosis

Lupus, the silent infiltrator mimicking other diseases and delaying diagnosis

When you notice them on your face, run to the doctor. It could be lupus.
When you notice them on your face, run to the doctor. It could be lupus.
Images source: © Licensor | Claude Dagenais/Two Humans

7:59 AM EST, January 11, 2024

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a disease where the immune system, failing to distinguish between harmful and benign factors, attacks the body's healthy cells. This act triggers a chronic inflammatory state that gradually damages various parts of the body.

The earlier lupus is detected, the more effectively it can be treated. However, the challenge lies in the non-specific nature of symptoms; they are easily misunderstood as indications of other diseases.

Researchers have yet to pinpoint the exact causes of lupus. Genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences are considered vital factors. The illness is more commonly diagnosed among women during their reproductive years.

Non-specific symptoms

Lupus is a silent infiltrator that can develop unnoticed for years. Its varied symptoms can hinder rapid and accurate diagnosis. Over time, it can impact the skin, heart, brain, kidneys, and joints. The disease doesn't only affect the nervous or cardiovascular systems; it can also target the digestive system. In severe cases involving the kidneys, organ failure may occur, leading to a need for transplantation or dialysis.

What are the common signs of lupus? They are usually present on the skin first. Nose ulcers can be one of the early manifestations. Other symptoms can range from general malaise, weakness, hair loss, fever, and chronic fatigue to loss of appetite and sudden weight loss.

Lupus patients often show heightened sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation. This sensitivity can result in ulcers and rashes on sun-exposed skin. These rashes, typically affecting the face, often take on a butterfly-like shape as they cover the cheeks and nose.

Related content