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What is Lupus? Everything you Need to Know


Experiencing fatigue, a face rash, sensitivity to sunlight, and other unusual conditions? These symptoms could be signs of Lupus.

What is Lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own cells. It’s chronic, meaning it lasts at least three months and often longer. And is known to cause major problems with skin, joints, and organs. Lupus is most common among women ages 15 through 44. Frequently, lupus goes untreated for quite some time because its symptoms are often similar to those of other ailments. 

Early Symptoms of Lupus

Recognizing the subtle signs of lupus is essential for early diagnosis and effective management of this complex autoimmune condition. Some early symptoms of lupus include:

Face Rash

Watch for a facial rash that forms a butterfly-like shape across the nose and cheeks. This rash isn’t present in all cases of lupus but appears in many of them.


Another common sign of lupus is fatigue. Though it’s hard to measure scientifically, this sign is present within 50-90% of people suffering from lupus. Commonly, it’s strong enough to impact quality of life.

Sensitivity to Sunlight

Nearly two out of every three lupus sufferers become sensitive to sunlight and may even develop a rash after sun exposure. More formally, this condition is known as photosensitivity.

Shortness of Breath

In some cases, lupus can cause lung inflammation that may contribute to difficulty breathing.

Headaches, Confusion, and Memory Loss

Lupus is known to cause headaches and various forms of cognitive impairment. Typically, these issues are worse during flare ups of the illness.

Joint Pain

Joint pain, swelling, and inflammation are common among individuals with lupus. This is so common that around 95% of people with lupus will experience arthritis or joint pain at some point.

Lupus awareness

When to Seek Help

Consider contacting your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing persistent fatigue and fevers or have an unexplained rash. Seeking treatment is important because sometimes inflammation triggered by lupus can cause other serious problems throughout the body, such as:

  • Kidney damage
  • Issues with the brain and central nervous system
  • Blood issues like anemia
  • Heart issues
  • Pregnancy complications such as higher risk of preterm birth and preeclampsia

While lupus is a serious condition, with treatment you can live a full and relatively normal life.  Lupus ranges from mild to life threatening, so stay on top of your medical care to manage the illness. If you’re concerned you may have lupus and want to speak with a knowledgeable physician, request an appointment today.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Women’s Health Arizona. As Arizona’s largest ObGyn group, we’re trained and solely dedicated to delivering the best ObGyn experience in convenient and comfortable settings around Phoenix.

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