Although lupus can be well controlled in many people, serious medical conditions caused by or associated with the disease can still occur. It is important that you know about these conditions and how they may make you feel so that you can call your doctor right away. The sooner a problem is detected and evaluated, the sooner it can be treated to prevent or reduce damage to your body's organs.
Kidney disease: Many people with lupus develop some form of mild kidney disease. Others, however, develop kidney disease serious enough to lead to kidney failure. Warning signs include:
Lupus is a difficult disease to diagnose because its symptoms can be vague. And unlike some other diseases, it cannot be diagnosed with a single lab test. However, when certain clinical criteria are met, lab tests can help confirm a diagnosis of lupus. Blood work and other tests can also help monitor the disease and show the effects of treatment.
WebMD takes a look at the uses and limitations of the tests that are commonly used to diagnose and monitor lupus.
Myocarditis: Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle. Warning signs include:
shortness of breath
new or higher-than-usual fever
Atherosclerosis: This is a condition in which fatty deposits build up on the inside of arteries. These deposits can reduce or block blood flow. A blockage or reduced blood flow through an artery that supplies the heart can cause a heart attack to occur. Warning signs include:
burning, choking, squeezing, or pressing chest pain felt in the center of the chest that may radiate to the left shoulder and arm (anginal pain); it can last up to 5 minutes and will become much less intense or go away completely if you rest
crushing, prolonged chest pain that is not relieved by rest
Pleuritis: Pleuritis is an inflammation of the lining of the lung. Warning signs include:
shortness of breath
chest pain, especially when taking a deep breath
Central nervous system (CNS) disease: CNS disease covers a variety of problems that may or may not be related to lupus. Problems can include seizures, memory loss, headache, confusion, hearing and visual changes, muscle weakness, depression, and emotional disturbances. Because many of these problems can be related to use of medications or indicate other conditions, it is often difficult to make a definite diagnosis of CNS disease. Warning signs include: