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Categories > Muscles and Joints > Lupus

Living with lupus
Know the signs
Getting help

A healthy pregnancy
A healthy pregnancy

Those with lupus should avoid sun exposure, which can aggravate a rash or cause a flare-up of symptoms. Because lupus strikes women in their childbearing years, the disease’s effect on pregnancy is a concern. Fortunately the outcome is generally favorable: Fifty percent of lupus pregnancies are completely normal, and 25 percent deliver normal babies prematurely.

Preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, is one condition that women with lupus should watch out for. Without proper management and prenatal visits, the condition could become fatal. With proper treatment, however, chances are good that both mom and baby will be fine.

Without your being aware of it, your body is waging a constant war against infection. As soon as your immune system detects foreign materials, it sends antibodies on a search-and-destroy mission. The target: disease-causing antigens. This process keeps you relatively illness free. However, some people’s antibodies can’t distinguish healthy cells from infection-inducing ones. This condition, known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), causes a range of symptoms.

Know the signs

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that affects women 10 times more often than men. Those with the condition have misdirected antibodies that destroy healthy tissue, resulting in infection and damaged organs. Unmanaged lupus could result in kidney failure and ruptured blood vessels. If you notice any of the symptoms listed below, talk to your healthcare provider. Common signs include:

  • achy or swollen joints
  • high fever
  • extreme fatigue
  • skin rashes
  • sun sensitivity

A series of tests is usually conducted to determine the source of the symptoms.

Getting help

Although lupus can’t be cured, medication can help treat joint and fever irritations.