Early Signs Of Lupus: Do You Know What To Look For?
Affecting roughly 1.5 million Americans, lupus is an autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation that can affect the entire body–most commonly the joints, skin and organs. For some people, lupus symptoms are only mild. For others, symptoms can be very severe.
In some cases, there are early signs of lupus that can show up in the form of distinct skin rashes and joint pain and muscle aches. If you or a loved one are struggling with these conditions, use this as a guide to help you understand more about what lupus is, which symptoms to look for, and how to better manage signs and symptoms while working with your doctor.
1. Joint Pain and Lupus
Joint pain is one of the first signs of lupus for about half of men and women with this disease (Lupus Foundation of America). In fact, it’s estimated that over 90 percent of lupus patients will have some amount of joint or muscle pain in their lives. In addition, lupus can lead to other inflammatory joint and muscle conditions, including:
- Bursitis. Bursitis refers to inflammation of the bursae, which are small fluid-filled sacs that surround joints, muscles, and tendons to act as cushions. Some people with lupus experience bursitis as a secondary side effect of the underlying inflammation of the autoimmune condition. Although bursitis can affect nearly any joint, tendon, or muscle in the body, it most commonly causes pain, aches, and stiffness in larger joints such as the hips, knees, and shoulders.
- Tendonitis. Also caused by chronic inflammation, tendonitis is another condition that can arise due to lupus. This condition is characterized by chronically inflamed tendons, the elastic cords of collagen fibers that connect muscles and bones in your body. When these tendons become inflamed, you will typically notice pain, stiffness, and even trouble moving or flexing affected joints and muscles. There are a number of different types of tendonitis, dependent upon which areas of the body are affected. However, each presents with similar symptoms in that area (Mayo Clinic).
- Myositis. Muscle inflammation, medically referred to as myositis, can also happen in conjunction with lupus. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of myositis include muscle weakness and pain, fatigue, and difficulty breathing and/or swallowing (The Myositis Association).
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by a variety of factors, including wear and tear and chronic inflammatory diseases like lupus. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs down the arm and through the carpal tunnel in the palm of the hand, becomes inflamed or is otherwise under pressure (Mayo Clinic).
2. Skin Rashes and Lupus
In addition to trouble with joint and muscle aches and pains, many people with lupus also experience a skin rash that typically forms on the face in the shape of a butterfly, creating red flushing of the skin on the cheeks and forehead. This rash tends to be very photosensitive, meaning that skin symptoms can become worse when exposed to the sun.
There is a specific type of lupus called cutaneous lupus that primarily affects the skin and can result in red skin rashes on the face or body, which sometimes occur in conjunction with raised skin lesions. Because of the photosensitivity of skin rashes associated with lupus, one of the most important treatment methods for this condition is using broad-spectrum sunscreen on a daily basis and avoiding direct sun exposure (American Skin Association).
Some natural remedies that may help to reduce skin symptom flare-ups include:
- Taking steps to better manage stress, such as meditation and breathing exercises.
- Being careful about which cosmetic and skincare products you use. Look for products that will be gentle on very sensitive skin.
- Avoid deliberate tanning, both indoors and outside.
Most commonly, immunosuppressive medications are prescribed to treat severe skin rashes and other symptoms associated with lupus. However, these medications can come along with very serious side effects, so it’s important to consider all of your options before starting these types of medications.
Other Early Signs of Lupus
Joint pain and skin rashes are some of the most common early signs of lupus. However, these symptoms alone do not necessarily indicate a lupus diagnosis, as there are many other causes of joint pain and skin problems. If these symptoms are occurring alongside other signs of lupus, though, you’ll want to consider talking with your doctor. Some other common signs of lupus include:
5. Dry mouth
6. Dry eyes
7. Hair loss
8. Chest pain
If you’re experiencing many of the common signs of lupus, seek an accurate diagnosis from your doctor. He or she can recommend treatment options to help manage and live with the condition.
Alleviating Joint Pain Symptoms Naturally
Before trying harsh immunosuppressive drugs for joint and muscle pain, consider talking to your doctor about trying a gentler option like topical Enduras Recovery Cream.
Because there is no known cure for lupus itself, treatment is aimed at calming inflammation and alleviating secondary symptoms such as joint and muscle aches, pain, stiffness, and swelling. The problem is, however, that many prescription medications and therapies for joint pain and stiffness come with a long list of side effects. This is why many men and women who are struggling to calm joint and muscle pain turn to natural remedies to help alleviate their symptoms without putting themselves at further risk of health complications.
Fortunately, there are several promising natural methods for calming pain, stiffness, and swelling caused by chronic inflammation, including applying topical essential micronutrients, like those found in Enduras Recovery Cream, which contains vitamins A, C, and E and an anti-inflammatory ingredient. Enduras works by helping to calm the underlying inflammation at the root of joint and muscle pain and stiffness, using a naturally-derived formula rather than harsh chemicals, steroids, or synthetic ingredients.
Many men and women who have already tried Enduras Recovery Cream have found that it has been the only successful treatment to help with joint and muscle pain, all while remaining gentle on the skin and body. You can take a look at what real Enduras users are saying about how this product has been able to help them.
In addition to using a gentle, non-steroidal topical cream, you can also try:
- Eating lots of anti-inflammatory foods, such as wild-caught salmon, turmeric, ginger, broccoli, and beetroot.
- Taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements to help calm inflammation.
- Getting regular exercise and properly stretching sore, stiff joints and muscles.
Lupus can produce severe symptoms, but this condition is becoming much more well understood than it has been in the past. Thus, improved treatment options are now available to help manage signs and symptoms of this autoimmune disease. While you’ll still want to talk to your doctor about living with lupus, know that there are ways to alleviate secondary symptoms like joint pain without the harsh side effects of many of the most commonly prescribed medications for this condition and other autoimmune diseases.