Could You Have Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in various parts of the body. The disease can range from mild to life-threatening. Ninety percent of those diagnosed with lupus are females between ages 15 and 44, but lupus also occurs in males, children, and teens. Lupus can be very hard to diagnose because symptoms vary from person to person, can come and go, and can mimic symptoms of other illnesses. It is important to know the symptoms of lupus and to know if you are at risk for this disease. Here is a simple test to help you. Read each question and answer it in terms of your current AND past health status.
For free information about lupus, call the Lupus Foundation of America at 1-888-38-LUPUS.
Brain and Nervous System
- Have you had a seizure or convulsion?
- Have you had unexplained confusion that lasted more than an hour?
- Have you had unexplained fever higher than 100º F/38º C for more than a few days that was not due to infection?
Eyes, Nose, and Mouth
- Have you had sores in your mouth or nose that lasted more than five days, or sores on your skin that would not heal?
- Have you developed irritation or dryness in your eyes or mouth for more than a few weeks?
Heart or Lungs
- Have you felt chest pain while taking deep breaths?
Stomach and Intestines
- Have you had unexplained weight loss or abdominal pain that is worse when you breathe?
- Have you been told you have protein in your urine?
- Have you had swelling in your legs and ankles on both sides at the same time?
Muscles and Joints
- Have you had stiff, tender, and swollen joints that feel worse in the morning?
- Have you ever had extreme fatigue and weakness for days or weeks at a time, even after plenty of sleep?
Blood and Circulatory System
- Have you been told you have anemia, low white cell count, or low platelet count?
- Have your fingers and/or toes ever become pale or red or blue, or felt numb or painful?
- Have you had a stroke or heart attack?
- Have you ever had blood clotting problems or a miscarriage?
- Has your skin broken out after being in the sun, but it’s not a sunburn?
- Have you had redness or rash across your nose and cheeks in the shape of a butterfly?
- Have you had sudden, unexplained hair loss?
If you have had any symptoms like these, especially if you have had several, talk to your doctor about lupus. Early diagnosis and proper medical care are the best ways to manage lupus.