[Healthline] Effects of Lupus on the body


Lupus is an autoimmune disease. This means it causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy tissues and organs instead of just attacking foreign substances that can harm your body. The disease can affect many areas of the body, including joints, skin, heart, blood vessels, brain, kidneys, bones, and lungs.

There are several different types of lupus, each with slightly different triggers and symptoms. Researchers don’t know exactly what causes lupus, but we do know that genetics play an important role and it’s much more common in women.

The majority of people with lupus experience some sort of skin problem over the course of the disease. Skin involvement and symptoms can vary depending on the type of lupus you have and how active your lupus is.

One of the noticeable signs of lupus is a rash on the face. The red mark covers the nose and cheeks and looks like the shape of a butterfly. The rash is commonly known as butterfly rash and usually appears on the face, but it can also appear on your arms, legs, or other places on your body.

Lupus also makes your skin more sensitive to the sun or artificial ultraviolet light. Unprotected sun exposure can cause ring-shaped spots that can become red and scaly. These spots can form on your scalp and face, or other areas exposed to the sun, like your neck or arms.

Sores can form in your mouth, on your cheeks, or gums. They can also form on the tissue of your nose, scalp, or vagina. These sores may not hurt at all. They are inflammatory manifestations of disease and can be uncomfortable.

Sjogren’s syndrome common in people with autoimmune disorders, such as lupus. It makes your mouth and eyes feel very dry. You may have trouble speaking or swallowing, or have itchy, burning eyes.

Dry mouth can also put you at higher risk of tooth decay, as saliva helps protect teeth from bacteria. Cavities occur at the gingival margin and may suggest a diagnosis of Sjogren’s.

Some people with lupus may experience hair loss. Lupus can make hair dry or brittle. Hair may break or fall out, especially on the front of the forehead. Your hair may grow back or you may go bald permanently.

Endocrine system

The pancreas is a gland located behind the stomach that controls digestive enzymes and hormones that regulate how your body processes sugar. If it can’t work properly, you’re at risk for infections, digestive problems, and diabetes.

Lupus can cause inflammation of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis, either by inflamed blood vessels or by medications, such as steroids or immunosuppressants used to treat the disease.

Circulatory system

Having lupus can affect your heart and blood vessels. People with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have a higher risk of heart disease. In fact, heart disease is one of the most common causes of death in people with lupus.

You will need to take additional precautions, such as eating an anti-inflammatory diet and staying physically active to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Lupus also causes the arteries to become inflamed. Inflammation can cause blood vessels to burst and bleed inside the tissue where they are located. When this happens to smaller vessels, like in the skin, the only symptom may be skin discoloration. In other tissues, like the brain or heart, blood vessel bleeding can become a major and potentially deadly risk. Inflammation can also lead to infection.

Although less common, anemia can also be caused by lupus. It occurs when the body has fewer red blood cells. For people with lupus, this can be because of inflammation, bleeding, or the immune system attacking them.

Nerve system

Memory problems or difficult thinking, often called “brain fog,” can happen when someone has had lupus for a few years. Inflammation or lack of oxygen to parts of the brain causes problems with cognitive function. You may also experience changes in behavior, hallucinations, or difficulty expressing your thoughts.

Chronic pain disorder, fibromyalgia, can co-occur with lupus and other autoimmune disorders. Fibromyalgia causes chronic pain, soreness, fatigue, bowel discomfort, and trouble sleeping. It may be the cause of pain in people with lupus. It is thought to be caused by changes in the pathways to the brain and spinal cord, or pain sensors in the brain.

Migraine-like headaches, commonly known as lupus headaches, can be caused by blood vessels around the brain becoming inflamed.

Immune System

Your immune system is designed to protect your body from harm. A healthy immune system attacks foreign substances, like bacteria, viruses, and infections that make you sick.

Lupus, like other autoimmune diseases, is the result of the immune system misbehaving and attacking healthy tissues in the body. Attacks on healthy body tissue can cause permanent damage over time.

Inflammation occurs in certain areas as a result of white blood cells attacking a substance. When white blood cells attack a foreign body, the inflammation goes away as the invader disappears. If they see healthy tissue as a threat, the inflammation will continue as they continue to attack. The inflammation itself can be painful and leave a lasting scar that causes permanent damage.

Gastrointestinal system

Your digestive system moves food through your body, taking in nutrients and eliminating waste. This process begins in the mouth and travels through the intestines. Lupus, and some medications used to control symptoms, can cause gastrointestinal side effects.

Inflammation in the esophagus caused by lupus can cause heartburn.

Problems with the digestive system, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation are often symptoms caused by medications used to treat lupus. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are used to treat pain in people with lupus and other chronic conditions, can also increase the risk of bleeding ulcers in the stomach lining.

Your liver helps digest and remove alcohol and other substances from your blood. Inflammation in the liver can cause the liver to not function properly, cause blood clots in the vessels that carry blood to the liver, and lead to an enlarged liver.

Bone system

Lupus can also cause your immune system to attack your joints, causing pain and inflammation. When joints become inflamed, it causes pain and long-term damage. Lupus arthritis can sometimes affect large joints, like the knees and hips, but usually affects smaller joints, like in the hands and wrists.

Some medications used to treat lupus can cause bone loss or osteoporosis. This makes you more susceptible to fractures and fractures.

Respiratory system

Having lupus puts you at higher risk for infections and pneumonia.

Inflammation and fluid buildup in or around the lungs can create a variety of complications for people with lupus. It can also cause chest pain when you take a deep breath.

Reproductive system

Lupus does not directly affect your reproductive organs, but it can cause complications during pregnancy. Pregnancy with lupus is considered high-risk and requires more frequent visits to the doctor for monitoring. Risks include:

  • miscarriage
  • premature birth
  • preeclampsia

It’s also possible that your baby is born with neonatal lupus syndrome, a condition that affects the heart rate and causes a rash.

However, a woman with lupus usually gives birth to a healthy baby. She may just need more care from her doctor during her pregnancy.

Excretory system

Your kidneys are extremely important for maintaining good health. They help remove waste from the blood, regulate blood volume and pressure, and filter waste out through urine.

Kidney problems are common in people with lupus, often due to chronic inflammation of the kidneys. Symptoms of kidney disease include:

  • blood in urine
  • Swollen feet or ankles
  • nausea and vomiting


While lupus has the potential to cause symptoms throughout the body, that doesn’t mean you’ll experience all of these.

Your individual symptoms and their severity will depend on the type of lupus you have and other factors. These include your genetics and how long you have had the disease. If your lupus is well controlled, you may have very mild symptoms.

Source :The Effects of Lupus on the Body



The article is edited and translated by ykhoa.org – please do not reup without permission!

Translated by: Kimluan

Editing: Bao Ngan

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