According to data by the Lupus Foundation of America, there are around 1.5 million Americans suffering from lupus and 9 out of 10 patients are women. Experts agree, but patients as well, that this autoimmune illness is unpredictable. Mallory Dixon, 29, claims that this is one of the most unpredictable health problems.
Mallory is an attractive, young, and determined brunette who explains that this disease can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, or ethnicity. Also, she asserts that the symptoms vary from patient to patient and that a lot of these symptoms cannot be described.
At first, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and 6 years later, with lupus. At one point, she could not breathe and needed to be in the hospital for 24/7 medical attention. As she puts it, she felt as if she was dying. She was in a hospital bed for 86 days because she fell in a coma, received chemo, was on a ventilator, and was also treated with dialysis. The symptoms were a result of the lupus which spread to the kidneys.
As early prevention can minimize the chance of the disease spreading to the kidneys, heart, or brain, it is vital, as she points out, to educate young women what to look for.
The Most Common Signs of Lupus
- Abnormal clotting of the blood
- Whitish or bluish fingers when cold
- Nose and mouth ulcers
- Butterfly-shaped rashes on the cheeks and nose
- Swollen and painful joints
- Swollen feet, legs, and hands
- Chest ache when breathing deeply
- Sensitivity to the sun or light
- Loss of hair
Important to note:
Since a lot of lupus patients are also diagnosed with a second or third autoimmune disorder, people with prior diagnosis or family history of such diseases need to be cautious. These are diseases like type 1 diabetes, IBS, Hashimoto’s, vitiligo, celiac disease, psoriasis, etc.
What Causes Lupus?
According to experts, there is certainly a genetic component to lupus, but it does not always mean that these people will develop the disease. Hormones and the environment are also contributing factors. The diagnosis can happen between the age of 15 and 44, the period when women are most fertile. Nonetheless, there have been cases of women diagnosed with lupus at the age of 70 and 80.
Although lupus patients can lead happy and productive lives, they need to control their symptoms in order to maintain their health at an optimal level. One needs to make specific lifestyle changes, usually in the areas that cause bad flare-ups.
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