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What are the complications associated with lupus?

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What are the complications associated with lupus?

As lupus progresses, inflammation can damage tissue and organs throughout the body.

Lupus can produce changes in your behavior if it causes inflammation in your brain or central nervous system. It can affect your memory, making it difficult to express yourself. It can even lead to depression. In some cases, it can cause hallucinations.

Some people with lupus experience:

headaches
dizziness
problems with vision
seizures
strokes

Inflammation that occurs in the hearing nerve may result in hearing loss.

Lupus can cause inflammation in the heart, increasing the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Symptoms include chest pain and heart murmurs.

Inflammation in the lungs and chest cavity can make it painful to take a deep breath. Inflammation in the chest cavity lining is known as pleuritis. Lupus increases your risk for developing pneumonia.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, about 40 percent of people with lupus will develop kidney problems, increasing their risk for kidney failure. Inflammation in the kidneys (lupus nephritis) can make it hard for your kidneys to filter waste and toxins from your body.

Symptoms of kidney damage include:

swelling (edema) of the legs, hands, or eyelids
puffiness
weight gain
dark or foamy urine

Lupus can affect your blood and blood vessels, increasing your risk of having:

a low number of healthy red blood cells (anemia)
a low number of white blood cells (leukopenia)
a low number of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia)
inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis)
bleeding
blood clots
hardening of the arteries

Some people with lupus also develop another immune disorder called Sjogren’s syndrome. Sjogren’s affects the body’s moisture-producing glands. Symptoms include chronically dry eyes and mouth. Sjogren’s can also cause:

swollen joints and glands
dry skin
vaginal dryness
a dry cough

With lupus, you’re more prone to all types of infection, increasing the risk of:

urinary tract infections
respiratory infections
salmonella infections
yeast infections
herpes
shingles

There’s a risk of bone tissue death (avascular necrosis) if lupus affects the blood supply to your bones. Symptoms include bone fractures and breaks, especially in the hips.

People with lupus may develop an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).

Lupus can also affect pregnancy, increasing the risk of complications like high blood pressure, miscarriage, and premature birth.

What’s the takeaway?
The exact cause of lupus isn’t clear. Some researchers theorize that it’s a combination of genetics and environmental or hormonal factors.

Lupus is a chronic disease with no known cure. However, there are many types of treatment, depending on how lupus affects you. With ongoing care, many people with lupus live full, active lives.

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