Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects millions of people around the world, but is still widely misunderstood and challenging to diagnose. Although the disease can cause extreme illness and even death, little is known about its cause. In the midst of Lupus Awareness Month, an expert at Baylor College of Medicine explains the facts that are known about the disease.
“There is still a lot to be taught to the general population and often even to the medical community about lupus,” said Dr. Kalpana Bhairavarasu, assistant professor of medicine and rheumatology. “The rareness of the disease is increasing, which is a good thing, but with that comes the problem of misdiagnosis.”
Common symptoms of lupus include a butterfly rash triggered by sunlight, experiencing fatigue, joint pain and hair loss. More severe signs of lupus include blood or protein in the urine and presence of Raynaud’s phenomenon, a condition where hands turn a blue white and red, often sequentially, even at room temperature, Bhairavarasu said.